Customers in other states get 500 minutes and 500 texts per month, or 50 minutes / 100 texts and 500 MB data.
SafetyNet Wireless now offers government-subsidized cell phones through the FCC’s Lifeline phone service program. SafetyNet is now available in California, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. And we wouldn’t be at all surprised if other states are added in the near future.
SafetyNet is offering free phones and free minutes each month (offer varies by state) to qualifying US residents if you qualify under the Lifeline Assistance program guidelines (more on that below).
UNLIMITED MINUTES AND TEXTS PLUS DATA IN CALIFORNIA: California is the most competitive state for the Lifeline Assistance free government cell phone program. A number of companies have already begun offering unlimited minutes and unlimited texts and SafetyNet is upping the offer by giving its customers 100 MB of data. All for free. The company offers considerably fewer minutes and texts and no data in other states.
Here are the various plans:
California LifeLine Unlimited – You get unlimited talk and unlimited texting absolutely free if you qualify. Voicemail, Caller ID and Call Waiting are included. We’re not sure why anyone would pick this no-data plan, when the next one, below, gives you the same thing plus 100 MB data.
California LifeLine Unlimited + 100MB Data – You get unlimited talk and unlimited texting plus 100 MB of data each month. That’s not enough data to allow you to surf the internet, but it’s certainly enough for a reasonable amount of email each month. Also included are free Voicemail, Caller ID, and Call Waiting.
More Data – You can pay a small fee each month if you’d like to upgrade your California Lifeline plan to have more data. Get a 250 MB plan for $5 a month, a 500 MB plan for $10 a month, or a 2.5 GB plan for $25 a month.
Plans in Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin
The plans outside of California are not as generous unfortunately, but still provide you with adequate service.
Lifeline Basic – You get 500 voice minutes and 500 texts per month. You cannot rollover unused minutes to the next month. No data.
Lifeline Basic – Data – You get 50 voice minutes and 100 texts per month, plus you get 500 MB of data usage. You cannot rollover unused minutes to the next month.
Other plans – There are several other plans, ranging from $1 to $37.99 per month, which will give you more minutes, texts and data.
Do you qualify?
There are two different ways to qualify for a free government cell phone from SafetyNet Wireless — you can qualify because you participate in another approved government assistance program, or you can qualify because your household income is low enough. Let’s review each plan:
Program Based Qualifications
You may qualify for a SafetyNet cell phone if you or someone in your household participates in one of the following state or federal government assistance programs:
In all states:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
- Veterans Pension and Survivor's Benefit.
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (BIA)
- Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Tribal Head Start (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
Additional eligibility in California:
- CalFresh, Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
- Stanislaus County Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (StanWORKs)
- Welfare-to-Work (WTW)
- Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN)
The programs listed above are for California residents. Residents of Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin should check their state’s qualifying programs on our States page (click here).
Income Based Qualifications
The general rule of thumb in most states says that you qualify for a free government cell phone if your household income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. That’s a complex formula that’s unintelligible to most people. So we’ll simplify things by showing you exactly what kind of total household income levels qualify depending on how many people live in that household.
|Income Based Eligibility for 135% States|
|Members in Household||Annual income||Monthly Income|
|For each additional member add $5,516 annual or $468 monthly|
That was for California, Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Michigan uses 150% (for a table on Michigan, click here)
Keep this in mind
SafetyNet is new to California and competes with many Lifeline Assistance free government cell phone providers in your state. SafetyNet may be exactly what you need, but we once again urge you to visit our States page to get a complete list of companies in your state.
Plans and phone choices often vary substantially between providers and you owe it to yourself to look at them all.
Contact SafetyNet Wireless
200 Mansell CT E, Suite 105
Roswell, GA 30076
Toll Free: (877) 312-1691
Monday to Friday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Closed Saturday and Sunday
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