What About Free Cell Phones for Seniors?

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We see that a lot of people end up on our site after searching for “free phones for seniors.” While the Lifeline Assistance program that our website is primarily devoted to does not offer age or being a social security recipient as a qualification, they’ve still come to the right place.

If you call any of the providers and ask if there is a special program for senior citizens, they’ll tell you no. They can’t discount a free cell phone below zero, and they don’t offer more minutes or features if you show your AARP card. (By the way, there’s no AARP cell phone that free, although the AARP .)

We’re not sure how the concept of free cell phones for seniors got its start. Perhaps it was due to local programs in counties and cities that hand out second-hand cell phones with no minutes, but are still 911-operable for emergencies. Any phone with a charge will be able to dial 911, even with no service, so some organizations collect old phones and give them away to seniors.

A recent story, 3,000,000 Middle Class Americans to be Eligible for Free Government Cell Phones, may have also contributed to the rumor. Thanks to a little-noticed clause in the nation’s new healthcare law, up to three million middle-class early retirees will qualify for free cell phones under the Lifeline phone service program.

Regardless, whatever your age, senior citizen or not, the qualifications for a free government cell phone (and up to 250 minutes airtime a month) are the same. Qualify either by your low-income status or current participation in another public assistance program like food stamps, Medicaid, SSI, public housing and others.

If you’re looking for the “AARP freecell”, that’s an online game not a phone.


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  1. If you are going to ask "how do I get a cell phone?" go here instead.
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  3. We are not your cell phone company. All technical questions should be asked of your vendor.
  4. Your comments are moderated, and we will manually approve those worth publishing within 24 hours.


  1. Tadd Ford says

  2. Lorenzo Young says

    I’m on a fixed income and am in need of an affordable phone. My income is below poverty level. I can no longer afford my present phone plan of $60.00/month.

    • Maria says

      I’m sorry but I really need a phone that my mom can hear cause she can’t hear very well she only get s disability check s I have bought her so many phone but she given them to the grand children cause she don’t hear them I went too her home and was calling but she never heard the phone till I told her the phone was ringing I’m sorry if bothered youll

  3. GEORGE C. SMITH says


  4. Scott K. Stackpole says

    I am a senior citizen,65 years old,living alone and I am receiving Social Security Disability Benefits and have since May of 2005. I can not afford a phone any longer so my only means of communication is the internet.I am retired and on a fixed income.I would feel safer if I could make a phone call,not only to talk to family but if I needed assisstance. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated.Thank You,Scott Stackpole.
    P.S.I am currently on Medicare and have been approved for food stamps and also I am applying for fuel assistance.

  5. Annette Dimon says

    You say you are not sure of how the concept of free cell phones for seniors got started but I can tell you that I was in Walmart and a Safelink representative came up to me and said I could get a free cell phone if I was covered by Medicare. I told him I knew it wasn’t true and he insisted I was eligible because I lived in Florida and was covered by Medicare. He actually convinced my neighbors to accept free cell phones even though they have a very high income and don’t get any governmental assistance other than Medicare. I pulled their application from the Safelink website and both applications were marked MedicAID and SSI. They promptly sent the phones back but the last time I was in Walmart these representatives were still trying to sign up senior citizens who were not eligible for free phones. I sent an email to my congressman, Vern Buchanan, asking if they could find out something about this travesty but have not received an answer.

  6. Mike Carter says

    I am currently 69 years old, am confined to a motorized wheelchair most of the time, Live with my wife, oldest son and granddaughter, I am on MEDICARE and BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD of MICHIGAN! I am extremely interested in obtaining a cell phone at little cost to me, for both phone and available service! Can you assist me in my desires?

  7. joyce says

    I was blown away by the comment “any cell phone even without service can dial 911″. I have never seen or heard this before. How do I test/verify this without calling 911? This could be very useful for a lot of people if true.

    • FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net says

      Our understanding is that you can do the following:

      1. Dial 911

      2. Announce that it is not an emergency and that you are testing 911 services from a phone with no service.

  8. denise byrne says

    my father is now in a nursing home and they chg for phone service. He will not answer that phone but has a trac phone and never uses the minutes in time. I’m looking for something that does not need min. added and his family can call where he will answer. he doesn’t call people that much

  9. Teresa Moschella says

    Looking for a phone for my 90 yr. Old Mother. She us currently on my family plan.
    She basically uses the phone for calling, games, music and taking pictures.

  10. janet says

    My mom is 88 year old i`m looking for free phone an min.lives in arkansas.can you help.i get a lot of run around.

  11. rosemary camarda says

    i would like to apply for cellphone minutes as i am a senior 66 years old and live on a low income
    social security income monty

  12. Ann says

    Need free phone for my brother that has just recently been put I’m nursing home. If possible please let me know . Thanks

  13. Margo says

    I had a cell phone with assurance virgin wireless I was traveling and I lost it, I was so upset
    because I’m disabled I needed bad Can you please help me, Thanks, MargoSilva

  14. Barb Cole says

    Thanks for the information, I am a senior that only uses a cell phone if there IS an emergency, or I will not be on time for work.
    This information is very important, and I will investigate other low cost options. I really appreciate the candor in this article. Again, thank you!

  15. elizabeth conant says

    My sister and her husband had a large amount of debt when he retired. He did get a part time job, but had to stop after 9 month do to his health. These are two people are putting everything into paying off their debt. Some months there is nothing left for groceries. They make just over 30K from social security. Is there a phone service they would qualify for.?

  16. Jessie Salcedo says

    To whom it may concern,
    I am requesting information on a free phone for my father. My father has Tricare Insurance. He is elderly & makes less than 15K per year.
    Please let me know how to proceed with this request.
    Thank you.

    • FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net says

      The same method for anyone, start by reading our homepage and follow the directions.

  17. Lori says

    My mom and dad only have their social security and a very small retirement check. Mom has pancreatic cancer and dad is very bad diabetic. They are not on any governmental program, but still need a cell phone. Any ideas?

  18. carolyn gregory says


  19. Kathy Bliss says

    My mother is in a nursing home that does not have phones in the room. Nurse has to take phone to her. In the month she has been there we have only been able to reach her that way twice. two of my brothers are out of state and would like to be able to talk to her. Can you help?

  20. Dorothy A Vicere says

    I am looking to get a free phone. After my rent, utility bills, insurance and grocery I dont’ have money left for a phone.
    I have medicare

  21. Irma Castillo says

    I’m looking for a cell phone . I lost mine.Im staying with one of my daughter’s . I’m on S.S.I. and don’t have a lot of money to get one . Thank you.

  22. Lauren Braxton says

    We have a number of residents on Medicaid that would like to have phones.
    Where is the best place to acquire them for our residents?

    • Hubert childs Jr says

      What are the steps necessiary for me to recieve a free cell phone? I am on a low fixed income ($1,002.00 per month). I live alone recently had two heart attacks pne caused me too code in the hospital.any help would be greatly areciated

  23. Sheila says

    My dad is 77 years old and because of his income he is need of a free phone.
    Questions I have: can he keep his current phone and phone number.

  24. Helen Gunn says

    My uncles who lives alone in rural Virginia needs a cell phone. He gets social security but pays a lot for rent. Has been buying minutes for calling card but is getting expensive. He has some health and social issues. Want to get him some help so he can keep in touch with his family members.

    • Vonnie Johnson says

      I live alone have big health problems. I can not afford my cell its higher all time. Can u help me please.

      • Billie says

        I have Parkinson’s heart kidney diverticulitis I fall a lot and like to see if I’m elible for a phone. Would like to able to make doctor and pharmacy also family. I am on medicare and medicaid. But Medicaid does not pay for my medicines

  25. Edward Hicks says

    Hello, my name is Michael Burns. I was asked by edward Hicks to notify someone about his free phone that he has not received yet. He ordered it on the 12th and it is currently the 23rd. He said his phone should have been here already because he was told the phone would have been shipped to him within three business days. Please contact him via my email or by phone: 314-630-****. Thank you for your time. He hopes to hear from you.

    • FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net says

      We don’t allow personal information on the public comments, so no one will be able to get back to you. You need to contact Edward’s phone provider.

  26. ron steele says

    Does incoming calls count against 250 minutes or just outgoing? How many texts are allowed? I saw some plans say texts count 1/3 of minutes. What does this mean?

    • FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net says

      “Does incoming calls count against 250 minutes or just outgoing?”

      Both, combined.

      “How many texts are allowed?”

      Depends upon the plan. Each plan specifies the number.

      “I saw some plans say texts count 1/3 of minutes. What does this mean?”

      Except for the unlimited text plans of Assurance Wireless, depending upon the plan, you either have a set number of texts as a limit, or 2) you have a maximum number minutes and texts each month, combined. Your question relates to the last type of plan. In that type of plan each text uses up a certain number of allowed minutes. If it’s a 1-to-1 plan, then each text uses up one of your minutes. If it’s 3-to-1, then each text uses up 1/3 of a minute. So, if you have a 3-to-1 250 minute combined minutes and text plan, here are some example of how they could be used up:

      – 250 voice minutes
      – 750 texts
      – 150 voice minutes and 300 texts

  27. William F. Herrfeldt says

    We have a free cell phone from the government. Every month 250 minutes are added to the phone. As of
    January 1, no minutes were added for this month. We still have not received the minutes.My husband has
    Parkinson’s and does not remember from what agency he received the phone. We have a low income (our
    Social Security only). The phone only says it is fully charged. I cannot get anything else.

    I need the phone. Can you help me or direct me to someone who can help? Thank you.

    Marywill Herrfeldt
    **** Linden Grove Place #101
    Odenton, MD 21113

  28. shawnalee says

    Can I get my Mom a free phone with a larger screen version and unlimited calling, texting and Internet? She’s 72 years old. If so I do I do this? What are the responsibilities and/agreement? She’s having a hard time of hearing and seeing small screeps. Is there anything available to help her? I am her daughter. Could you let me know what is available and what needs to be done to get her something manageable for her….such as hard of hearing and a larger screen. Of course she’s on an limited income. Thank you for your help and advice. Happy holidays to you all!

  29. Vanessa Jenkins says

    I applied for a phone for a senior citizen on Social Security, Robert Cauley, two weeks ago. The web site asked for a fax of his Social Security income which was faxed in by Tuskegee Federal Credit Union on the same day but as of yet Mr Cauley has received no phone or any other information. What are we supposed to do now?

  30. patty says

    My mother is 81 disabled an on Medicare. Her income is $884. A month would she qualify for the free phone and if she were to go over the 250 minutes what would the cost be?

  31. mary burkhead says

    my sister is a senior citizen on a limit income and has no phone but needs one bad she is out in the country and she realy needs a phone

  32. Grace says

    Hi, I am trying to get my mother a free cell phone with limited minutes per month for emergency’s she 68 yrs old on Medicare and total disability her income is around 20.000 but has household expensive’s so I’m having trouble with her income she can not afford a regular plan and it wouldn’t be worth it for her she would only use it to contact me and my sister or emergency’s thank you hope you can help

  33. Curlie B Mozingo says

    I am 73 1/2 years old.Can not afford all these other kinds of phone…i live on just my SSS check every months and the cost of living and the expenses other things light bill. Heat bill,grocerys

    meidical bills and, medicines.
    I would I be consider a person to get a free phone for emergenys and keep intouch with freinds.

  34. kathy Robinson 62 and disabled in [email protected] says

    Some companies lime Cox..Comcast..Frontier..Charter letlow income elders and children have internet for 9.95 a month with free equipment. So how about Colorado?

  35. Charles Toney says

    I wanted to share my experience regarding my cell phone and service through Verizon pay as you go program. I’ve had a prepaid phone for four years and paid $10 dollars monthly until last year when it was time to renew my service by paying $120 for the year. I asked the representative if they had a better program since I only used about 10 minutes over the past years and she sold me a program that if I paid $100 dollars it would cover me for two years, a good deal. This year when I call to renew they told me that I had over a $340 credit and that they could renew with a $5 per month charge. I decided that I just didn’t need the phone and really only needed it for emergencies. I would still like to have a no cost phone that I could use for emergencies. I read that you can dial 911 on any phone even if you where not signed up with a company like Verizon. IS THAT TRUE?

  36. Jerry Ervin says

    I will be 75 in March 2015. Cell phones are hard for me to afford on my soc/sec check. Would like to know if I could eligible for the free goverment phones?

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      Go to the page or your stat on this site and you will see the eligibility information for your state.

      • Audrey Spicer says

        I am 87 yrs. old. it is hard to get a goodd
        for the cost and im on medicare. is it possible I coul get a free good phone. I got a paper

        to to fill out butduring moving it got lost.



  37. Leo Marcum says

    I AM AN 85 old retired man my SS pension is $1,242.00 monthly
    I also receive service connected (purple heart)disabiliy of $577.54 monthly
    I also receive from a co. where I worked 30 yrs in the amount of $609.81 monthly
    Question is DO I QUALIFY FOR FREE PHONE? my zip 43113 THANKS

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      Depends upon how many members are in your household. Your zip code is from Ohio and you can go to our Free Phones in Ohio page to see the table that outlines the eligibility requirements.

      Thank you for your military service.

  38. marilyn says

    LOOK OUT and do your homework on ANY cellphone you sigh up for advertised by AARP.
    MY 90- yr old father got took big time …he WAS CHARGED $ 65 FOR A PHONE ,PLUS, a monthly charge PLUS PAYING FOR MINUTES .
    I could have bought the same pay as you go phone for $15..



    AARP says , sorry, they only advertise and have no responsibility…

  39. Arlene Cummings says

    I have had different cell phones like sprint, and pay as you go phones ever sinence I had a cell phone.

  40. c. johnson says

    A senior friend has moved into an apt. where the person before him had a safelink phone. This person that lived there before my friend did not change his address with safe link when he moved. Now when the friend of mine trys to get safe link phone he is refused because….( Some one at this Address has a phone with Safe Link) How does he get this other person OFF of his address with Safe Link and get the phone he NEEDS. He has tried to call safe link but gets no results. He lives alone and needs a phone. Please advise how to get the other person off of his address with safe link. He knows the mans name that lived at his address. He has advised the man who lived at the apt to call safe link and change his( the man who lived at the apt. before him) address. He has not done so. please help. thank you

    • Lisa says

      Maybe your friend can get a letter from his landlord/property manager on their business stationery stating that he is the sole legal and rent paying tenant of that apartment. It could state that there is no other person – including the prior tenent and specifically listing his name – living at at that address. Then send that to Safe Link along with photocopies of a couple of pieces of mail your friend received – maybe the top portion of bills with all of the account info blacked out.

  41. Majeed Aldamah says

    I got free TAG mobile before a couple month from Denver Human Service. but this mobile is complicated and its buttons are two small for senior people like me in addition of dead battery I call company on their
    phone No.866-959-4918 that stick on the mobile that I got to change or replace with another type . They
    promise me they send to me another type and I send them the old one, but till now (more than a month they didn’t any thing. So why this company did that?

    Majeed Aldamah

  42. Ben says

    Just thought you should know there is a free cellphone scam going on and the name is Qlinkwireless. They have no human support. they do not answer e-mails. I requested to cancel my application after I read reviews on them. I told them they have 48 hours to respond to me, otherwise I will report them to the arizona attorney generals office. I Just thought it might be a good idea to let someone know about this.

  43. Gerald McLean says

    I am retired and will be 81 on august 22nd. We live in the country in Tn and I have a bad heart. I was at the doctor today and my paulse was 33 and the nurse was so worried with it being so low and I was still walking. I wife is in a wheelchair.
    I was wondering if I can get a free cell phone so that I can call someone if something happens to me and I need medical care.


  44. Social Sevice says

    I work for a nursing home here in Mississippi and have had several residents here wanting to know if they could get free cellphones for the poor? Can they ALL apply for free cellphones?

  45. Rosezell says

    I am a senior and i am in need of a free cell phone, i just don’t have the money to pay for a cell phone if i had the money i would pay with no problems ‘but my income is at zero and i can not find a job because of my age when i am seeking employment for my self at the EDD-Employment Office
    one young lady said to me you’ll just to ‘OLD’ and that’s when i said Old people have to work too
    the job Market is not just for the young, and that’s when i said to her you need to show repect toward the ‘ELDERLY’ young lady, because you are going to get ‘OLD’ just like me and ‘you are not going to stay young for ever.

  46. monica says

    barbara, my sister had the same problem with safelink. the minutes would not be loaded. so, one day when she was visiting, i went on the website chat. the operator took care of the problem.i was assured that the minutes would be loaded the next month with no problem. i went on line two more times for the same thing. finally her minutes are loaded every month.

  47. RONALD FORD says

    I like the camera phone cintext sent me, but there is someting wrong with the charging port on the side of the phone. You have sent two different charging wires to me and the phone still will not charge when the battery gets low. Once again I am telling you it”s the little whole on side of the phone and not the charging cords. The cords fall out of the charging whole on the phone. It’s no use to me if it won’t charge. I’ve sent the phone back twice explaing the situation and anoter charging cord is put in the box with the same camera phone. Once again I AM TELLING YOU IT’S NOT THE CORDS, IT’S THE PHONE. WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT?

  48. barbara says

    i have had my safelink phone going on 3 years but now am having trouble getting minutes. I keep calling them and they give me the runaround and the numbers they give me do not work. I cannot apply on line because it will not let me. Today i give up after 2 month of this i finally gave up and threw it in the garbage can. I think that is what they wanted me to do.

  49. joseph luiacono says

    i have a free assurance phone, i would like to exchange it for a phone that has bigger numbers on it so i can see it better, and a better light. do you carrie phones like that?

  50. Patricia Lay says

    I have a husband that is on oxygen can’t go without it My question is we have the 3 things from Comcast, Internet, phone and T.V. My porblem is when the cable goes out, so does our phones, with the weather is so unstable, that if we was in a state of emergency, What would we do? My husband is retried I’m disabled Togather we do make 21 hundred a month but, by the time we buy our meds and he is a diabitec , and the growing fuel bills and food prices I would like to see if we could get a goverment paid phone? I just wanted to know, If you don’t ask, I don’t know? Thank you for your time Patricia Lay

  51. Lynda says

    I am trying to help a low income woman in a rural area in AZ. The zip code submitted says she does not qualify because her area is not serviced. Very disappointing to find this “free” program is only for highly populated areas. Any other “free” cell programs I can suggest for her?

  52. Maricela Perez says

    I have tried to apply for two days now but when I click on submit it just stays on the same page and really need this special service. Thanks

    • joseph luiacono says

      mybe you could just do it over the phone by calling 1-888-898-4888, you can do the application on the phone.

  53. Dawn says

    I am so confused. What does the 135% poverty thing mean? I get Social Security Disability but my husband works. What do I do?

  54. Ron B. says

    I am totally disabled and have been qualified for real property tax relief in Virginia, will that meet the guidelines for a free phone?

  55. Karen Dudley says

    Yes I’m trying to sign up my 85 yr. old father, were is the application at he lives in Texas.
    Thank you

  56. lisa carter says

    I’m trying to sign my dad (87yrs) up for free phone and free minutes program. Please advise me what your procedures are for this program. Thanks

  57. antonio rodriguez says

    how in the name of hell do i get an appication on line for safelink free phone with 250 free minutes? help me out will you?

  58. Mary Henry says

    I left a message yesterday and haven’t received an answer for the lifeline cell phone. I’ve also tried for 3 days now on the telepnone using 4 different numbers and NO ONE ANSWERS the phone. What else can I do? Please help.

  59. Mary Henry says

    I left a message yesterday and haven’t received an answer for the lifeline cell phone. I’ve also tried for 3 days now on the telepnone using 4 different numbers and NO ONE