California Lifeline Free Cell Phones, with Unlimited Talk & Text

Three Lifeline cell phone providers in California are now offering unlimited voice and unlimited texting.

One would think that the trendsetting state of California would be at the forefront of the free government cell phone program. But it wasn’t until late 2012 that the first company, ReachOut Wireless, entered the state. And now in 2015 we see seven major phone vendors participating in the California Lifeline free cell phone program.

But the late start in California has been all but made up for now. Leading the country with the best widely available plans are Assurance Wireless and Budget Mobile, which provide struggling Californians with a free phone, free unlimited voice minutes and free unlimited texts. Recently joining the Unlimited Voice and Text club is Total Call Mobile.

This is great news for the not-so-Golden State with their unemployment levels higher than national average, and run by one of the most dysfunctional governments in the country.

The companies listed below are some of the biggest players. We would not doubt that others begin operations in the state shortly.

Free Cell Phone Providers in California:

Following is a list of all the Lifeline Assistance free government cell phones in California. You can see that the plans vary quite a bit, from unlimited talk and text to a limit of 250 minutes per month. Why would you not just go for the best plan and stop there? Not all phone companies offer services in all areas of the state, so you may not be able to get the top plan. But other than ReachOut Wireless, all the companies’ plans we’ve listed are very good, even if not completely unlimited.

We’ve included some brief notes about each company’s free plan, but most offer other plans as well. You might find that agreeing to pay $5 or $10 a month offers you much more. So click through them all and find the plan that’s best for you.

Access Wireless: The company offers a free California plan that gives you an Android smartphone, 1,000 minutes or texts, plus 200MB data usage, each month. (Click for info)

Assurance Wireless: Under their California FREEdom Plan, you will receive a cell phone, unlimited voice and unlimited text. (Click for info)

Budget Mobile: You will get a cell phone plus unlimited voice and texts. (Click for info)

Entouch Wireless: Get a phone and 1,100 (why not an even 1,000, we don’t know) voice minutes and texts. That’s 1,100 for both voice and text combined. (Click for info)

Feel Safe Wireless: You’ll get a free phone, unlimited talk, unlimited text, 100MB data and 100 free international texts. (Click for info)

ReachOut Wireless: ReachOut provides customers with a free phone, unlimited voice minutes and unlimited texts. (Click for info)

Tag Mobile: This provider not only gives you a cell phone, unlimited voice calls and unlimited texting, but you also get 100MB of data per month. (Click for info)

Telscape (aka Surelink Mobile): Telscape sits in the middle ground of plans offered in California. They give you 1,000 voice minutes per month, but only 200 texts. (Click for info)

Total Call Mobile: This company give you an unlimited calling each month, but every text will cost you a nickel. (Click for info)

Lifeline Discount Companies in California

Since California is such a big state, you may find that none of the companies offer free government cell phones where you live. But no need to despair, since you have another option. The companies below, while not offering free cell phone plans, do offer substantial California Lifeline discounts off their regular mobile phone plans:

How to Qualify for a California Lifeline Cell Phone

There are two ways to qualify, and they are a bit different than other states.

Method 1 Program-Based – You can qualify if you or another person in your household is enrolled in any one of the following public assistance programs:

  • Medicaid/Medi-Cal
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
  • Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
  • Healthy Families Category A
  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • 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)
  • Tribal TANF
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal Only)

Method 2 Income-Based – You may also qualify if your total annual household gross income is at or less than annual income limits for your household size:

Income Based Eligibility for California
Members in Household Annual income Monthly Income
1-2 member $25,700 $2,142
3 members $29,900 $2,492
4 members $36,200 $3,017
5 members $42,500 $3,542
6 members $48,800 $4,067
7 members $55,100 $4,592
8 members $61,400 $5,117
For each additional member add $6,300 annual or $525 monthy

Latest News for California:

California goes crazy: Unlimited talk and unlimited text going mainstream - All of a sudden a slew of companies are offering unlimited talk and unlimited text in the Golden State. And the companies that don't offer unlimited programs are offering 1000 or more free minutes, which blows away the plans offered in most other states.
California news: Budget Mobile now offering free government cell phones with unlimited talk and unlimited text - Budget Mobile, a free government cell phone provider, now gives unlimited talk and unlimited texting to low-income Californians!
How to get a free government cell phone in California - The California Lifeline program offers great deals on free cell phone service in California. Unlimited voice and text. Many providers to choose from.
Assurance Wireless gets aggressive: Introduces unlimited talk/unlimited text Lifeline plan in California - Assurance Wireless just introduced the best plan in the free government cell phone business. California customers now get free unlimited talk, free unlimited texting, and of course, a free cell phone.
California breaks out the checkbook, offers more money to free government cell phone companies - In addition to the $9.25 that the federal government pays Lifeline cell phone providers, California will now pay those companies an additional $6.35 to $13.15 per month for some customers.
Free government cell phone war heats up in California: Assurance Wireless enters the state - Assurance Wireless has just been approved to offer free cell phones in California. And that is good news, indeed, for low-income residents of the nation’s largest state.
California joins the 21st century, finally approves free government cell phone program - The California Public Utility Commission is just weeks away from authorizing Sprint’s Assurance Wireless subsidiary to offer free government cell phones.
Free government cell phone program creeps into California - Telescape is providing cell phones for low-income residents in Bakersfield, California under the Lifeline program. The plan gives $2.50 per month for 300 minutes.
Lifeline Cell Phone Service Comes to California - California has been conspicuously absent from the list of participating Lifeline states. But now it's covered by fast-growing cell phone company ReachOut Wireless.
$3.7 Billion in Income Could Be Generated for the Poor by Making Lifeline-Subsidized Free Cell Phones Available to All Eligible Americans - $3.7 Billion in Personal Income Lost in States – Including CA, CO, HI, MT, NE, ND, OK, SD, VT and WY – Without Access to Program for Their Poorest Citizens.

See more cell phone news.

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  1. Lili says

    I faced to one case yesteday two man come behind of my home offer free phone and get all my information i rely themat that time but they didnt give me phone now im so sad if they relate to governent or not?i should wait or they deceived me?what should i do now?

    • says

      We don’t know exactly what you are trying to say, but it sounds like some people you didn’t know got onto your property and got you to sign something for a phone, which didn’t come. Nothing we can do to help on that. Once again, as always, we say to deal direct with the company and do not deal with unsolicited offers.

  2. Nhu Pham says

    I was apply free phone almost 2 month ago but until now i not yet have it.
    How i can check how long i get?

  3. Kathy Berg says

    What’s the point in getting an education or working to get ahead, when everything that you should be working for is handed to you on a silver platter. Is it just me or has the State gone crazy??? I guess the way to look at it is, if the Government gives it away for free, at least people won’t be breaking into my house and taking everything I have worked so hard for!!!

  4. Anjelica Galaviz says

    I would like to inquire some information so see if I qualify for cheap internet for low income Americas this would be a great asset for me considering the fact that I am currently unemployed I would like to begin job searching as well as taking a few courses online to further my education so that I can better myself In life

  5. Andrea Garcia says

    I got to ask you if my phone will be turned off tomorrow because the people at your company said they told me to call back before 12 August and she said trusting your phone will not be turned off but I’m not sure because only a one-day a service left and I was supposed to switch back to the unlimited text and talking so I need to know on let me know thank you

  6. Heather Sanford says

    Good lord, I can’t believe the stupidity of some of these comments/questions. It’s really not that hard to type a question and use grammar, punctuation, and correct spelling people. The computer even shows you when you’ve made a mistake. Please stop posting, you’re making America look bad.

  7. Donald Baker says

    I’m glad that you’ve posted the info. about California, which will help me. However, I’d like for you to remove your negative comments about our state. You mentioned that we have one of the most dysfunctional governments in the country. I don’t agree with everything our state government but no state is perfect. I was born here and have here 56 – almost 57 – years and this is my home. We’ve only had snow here three times on the valley floor of Silicon Valley where there are a lot of computer and hi-tech jobs. San Jose, next to the city that I live and where I was born, has a million people here now. That’s a lot for the state government to deal with. If you think it’s so easy, try running for state governor and see how easy it is! Also, try visiting San Francisco, Monterey, Yosemite, or Disneyland. We usually don’t have the humidity that’s in other states. It’s very offensive to us Californians what you said.

    • Sammy says

      I, want support for the California Emergency Relief Act; Use they hat new phone to call, your Favorite Political Parties, tell them to support the; California Emergency Relief Act; water for food, farmer’s, need water, when You and Your Family, come to visit this Great State of California!!!
      Thank You,

    • Carl says

      Thank you D Baker and Sammy

      I was also born in SLO Ca in 1940 and would live nowhere else.
      As Ca is the 5th (or 6th) largest Country (Economically) in the world, I am very proud of our Government(s) handling of its citizens lives.
      Ca is the best place in the world to live.
      I have traveled the world extensively, Via the Military, NASA tracking ships on the Apollo 8 project and 22 yrs in the offshore Oil industry.
      I have been in most of the world Countries and all of our States.
      I may be a bit dozy at 75, But I have been there and seen it all.
      Peace Brothers and sisters.


    I rwcieved a free cell phone through a guy that opperated his business at Little Louie’s Restaurant, a black woman by the name of “Suzette *****” that took me there, once back in my car immediately stole my phone, & I’ve tried to get the phone shutdown with no avail! I am terminally ill, the phone # of my free phone is (760)-773-****. Is there any one out there that can help me find the name of phone company, that supplied that phone. She stole the entire package of information. My name is Tamara Davies ph.#
    I REALLY would appreciate any help with this issue

    • says

      We’re really sorry to hear about what happened to you. There’s no way we would know how to help you, but we wanted to post this as a warning for everyone to be very careful out there.



  10. tracy schoenduby says

    i have sent in my info and my letter from section 8 almost 2weeks ago is there anyway i can get some info if that has been recived thank you tracy schoenduby

  11. oto says

    I live in California, I need to apply for a Smartphone throw ( but we already have a LifeLine discount program (Pink envolope) for our line phone apartment.

    Can I apply for my cell phone?
    They only work for one person by home with Lifeline program. I don’t like throw by Assurance Wirelless, they cellphone are Sh…#@#t I have Medical-cal sure.

      • CL says

        When i went to apply for one of these phones (Feel Safe Wireless). I was told the gov’t shut the service down for now.
        No other explanation was given as to why the gov’t shut the service down.
        Do u have any further information to validate this??

          • CL says

            That’s interesting…. i went to a Feel Safe Wireless provider and was told this by one of the rep….
            I guess i will try to get a phone via…internet…


          • CL says

            I just talk to someone at Feel Safe and what’s happening here in California is a system upgrade due too the fact – Feel Safe is somewhat new to the California area..
            So, because of this upgrade – they have ceased signups for the program of phones…until the upgrade is complete..
            This will also include upgrades to phones …. this will take another 3-4 weeks to complete.
            Then the process will begin again here in Cali… just thought i would pass this on..

      • oto says

        thank you.
        I already have a phone from Assurance Wireless under the Lifeline program approved because I have Medi-Cal.

        My address apartment has a landline phone that is not at my name (the Lifeline discount is registered in the name of my mother and their respective social security number because she own that landline phone)

        My question is I live in an apartament that has a discunt, but the landline phone isn’t registered at my name, so I have a phone from Assurance Wireless already in my own now but I don’t like it. I was approved under lifeline, I want to know if am in a trouble??
        Please can yo clarify me this. I don’t want have troubles with the Social security in the fucture for a cellphone. thank you. if I won’t Can I switch to the Wireless Access?

        • says

          Only one Lifeline discount per household, not per person. As for in trouble, well, all the government will do is send you a notice that says you have to pick one phone to keep. There doesn’t seem to be any consequences beyond this.

    • Kim says

      Access wireless have excellent Android phones. Touch screen with 4 inch screens and Wi-Fi. You can watch TV and movies. I got mine in 15 minutes at a tent in front of Food for Less.

    • says

      We can’t ! You need to contact one of the phone providers listed above to get an application.

  12. renee says

    I was pushed into this cell phone provided by the Obama programs. I said “no thank you” several times while she followed me in front of a store. I finally said okay I will give it a try. The first phone that came to my home quit working right after I charged it up, before I even had a chance to use it. The company did send a replacement phone, which died yesterday. It lasted one month. I don’t know how much the tax payers are getting charged per user, but if the products are this shoddy, then they are being taken advantage of. I just recently have been in a tough financial situation but for years my taxes paid for programs that often ended up lining pockets of greedy people abusing good intention programs. I am canceling my account so I can save the tax dollars.

    • says

      That’s a disgusting anecdote. It’s a shame that there are independent distributors out there like that. Good for you for canceling if you don’t need it.

  13. Robert Sanford Jr. says

    I signed up with assurance on Friday thanks to Aaron Kenner can’t wait to get my phone with bills to pay and hard times in my life I need one and I’m thankful. That’s cool that major companies are doing this for the people in this country.

  14. Tamara Horner says

    I have been getting the run-around from Reachout Wireless for almost a year now. I have spend endless hours waiting on hold for the outsourced operators to inform me they can’t do anything about the inoperable phone they sent but I can use my own phone if I purchase a card to port the number. I purchased the card and opps…we no longer can use your phone that you could use only a week ago after I have purchased the porting card. So I purchase a new phone, one that they recommend only when I go to have it activated they no longer accept that phone. So I now purchase an iphone CDMA, but wouldn’t you know it….Its the wrong iphone 4 CDMA. Ok. That’s a lot of BU11SH1T. Mind you I’ve had to pay for shipping and handling to both get the cell phones and return them. I search REACHOUT Wireless’ own site to find a suitable upgrade, but find I can purchase a better iphone on-line at a better price. Once again, I purchase a phone and once again I stay on hold for a couple of hours. Once I do get through I find out that the company has deactivated my service on the very day I checked out their upgrades. They tell me they will call me back the following day @ 11 AM because their “concern department” is closed. By 12noon the next day the company still has not called (big surprise). I call them, I say on the phone for close to 3 hrs and they tell me I have to call back on Monday because the “concern department” is now closed. Please, do not use this company. The cell service is shoty, the customer service is CRAP, and I swear the operators are in India, not Columbus Ohio as they say.

  15. Roy Morris says

    Yes, I applied for my phone about 2 weeks ago and still haven’t gotten my phone. I do have medi-cal, so I do qualify. I didn’t ask when it would come in though.

  16. Josh says

    I would like to be part of helping people sign up for these phones I.e. a table in front of a store. I’m in San Diego Ca

  17. Nicole says

    When and were well they have a another both out in rosdail and were at were people can sine up for free phone and seeives in July 2015 to day June 29th 2015 Monday location tin set up were

  18. cmh says

    How or which is the best way to get free wifi – I need such to re-enter work force. and what is cheapest or free touch screen phone for free gov’t phones so I can use with hot spots? Assurance gives free text & talk but no wifi

  19. Dean says

    I’m confused where do I get a free cell phone I am disabled and on Medicaid so I qualify but I don’t understand where to pick it up from is there anyone that can help me

  20. jane farr says

    so I get a government phone from unnetco.. something like that. cant get it to work. did what I needed to do with cell phone and sims card. denies sims card. I am pretty mad cause I don’t know where these people are and there website has nothing. what am I to do… ???

      • CT says

        I am glad u mention “street tent”.
        I see these street tents all the time and i was thinking about getting a phone there.
        Is this not a good thing to do or should i use the list u provided?


        • says

          We suggest that people order directly from the phone provider, either by phone or through their online application process. While many of the tents are just fine, some could be operated by less-than-responsible independent individuals. And most people walk away with no receipt or order number or anything that can be used to query the company about delivery.

  21. Rachel says

    My child recieves Medical. Can i get a phone for him even though my income is to high. When i go into my local assistance program office they tell me that they cant give me proof that my child recieves medical, so how do i show proof. Would a recent medical card with a more recent date on it be proof enough?

    • says

      Yes, Medi-cal is a qualifier. We would thinkg a recent medical card would be enough, but it’s going to be up to the phone provider.

  22. gilbert says


      • gilbert says


  23. Rastafarian employee says

    ***** *****, ****** div.manager
    foul play and bad management efforts post:
    She has yet to pay me the $340.00 she owes me from training she agreed to pay… she signed the document below and we had an agreement to settle… now she’s plays cat and mouse and still no effort to resolve matter in a professional timidly matter… if no response on this second email I will proceed with legal class act action… she owes more employees than just myself who are waiting to come forward… just let me know what needs to be done and I will definitely supply any evidence, pictures, video or audio etc that I have thank you

    Also she is sleeping in the office  and having  unauthorized  parties and kids in the building  with drugs and alcohol… I have pictures  and proof of all accusations… also audio recording  of her foul mouth and selective judgment speaking about different employees throughout  the company.. please provide me with the  proper channels and or management to resolve my issues and concerns.. first complaint was never resolved.. maybe Derek can be of assistance if you can also  forward to him thanks

    • says

      Yes, Sheila, you are correct. It’s been difficult keeping up with what Reachout Wireless is doing lately since they have semi-permanent “Under Construction” pages instead of plan information pages. But we dug into their Terms and Conditions (see here) and found the plan in legalese. We’ll update our pages — we wish Reachout would update theirs. Here’s the plan:

      Unlimited Voice/Unlimited Text California LifeLine Plan: Includes a free E911 compliant handset, unlimited free domestic airtime and unlimited free Domestic SMS text messages each month. No airtime minutes or other charges are assessed for calls to 211, 311, 511, 811, or 911. Customers may access California Relay service by calling 711. No charges are assessed for calls to 711 or for airtime for domestic U.S. calls completed via 711. Minutes are “anytime” nationwide minutes and can be used for domestic calls, including local or intrastate/interstate long distance calls. Airtime and messaging allowances do not carry over to the following month and will expire at the end of thirty (30) day period in which they were loaded. California LifeLine customers do not pay otherwise applicable CPUC Public Programs Surcharges, CPUC User Fee, or State 911 Tax on telecommunications services included in this plan. California LifeLine customers may be required to pay municipal telecommunications taxes for the portion of telecommunications services for which payment is made under this plan, unless the customer receives an exemption.

  24. oasis says

    this program punishes longtime fixed income seniors by NOT ALLOWING porting of their forty year held phone numbers to the free cell phones. THESE SENIORS HAVE HAD THE SAME NUMBERS FOR DECADES AND OFTEN HAVE NO INTERNET THEIR DOCTORS PHARMACISTS AND FAMILY ALL KNOW THE SENIORS PHONE NUMBER


    THIS IS WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    DDONT PUNISH THE RESPONSIBLE SENIORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Maria Anita Mendoza says

    I haven’t got my free government phone yet in the mail it’s been a month already whom it concerned

    • says

      Some companies in California are internet or phone orders only. Some have locations you can go to. Click on each link to a provider above and check with the companies.

  26. Jane says

    this 4″ tall x 2″ wide phone from Assurance arrived today. I can keep my phone number, but can I also keep the land line handset I have in my house? I used to have two phones in the house with w landline with Lifeline.

  27. Gus McDonald says

    I need cel phone because I do not have one I have mi retired check only$ 600.00 only and no work. This is my Adress **** Alaska street San Diego cal 90254 thanks Por help me.Else I have Medical Medicare …

  28. Thomas Clark says

    I need one of these phone but I live in the hilly Sierra foothills where reception can be spotty at best. How do I pick a carrier with the best performance under these circumstances?

  29. Ross says

    Today I received the unnecto primo cell phone but there is no SIM card. How can I get a SIM card to use the phone?

  30. Joe says

    Hello, i have a budget mobile phone,(Free unlimited talk and text) I was wondering if I can take out the sim card of the phone provided and put it on an unlocked Lg Although the phone provided is decent. I need my old phone for contacts,and the use of more storage, for installing apps like google classroom for school.Thank You

    I also wanted to know about my plan because I somehow have 4g internet on the budget mobile phone.I used it for a few minutes, but turned it off because I didnt know if I would be charged.If the plan is covered with data what is the data available.Is it ok if I use the 4g internet and not get charged?I only signed up for unlimted talk and text, and Im not sure if it is ok to use it.Thank you very much and I will appreciate a response as soon as possible.

  31. maria penullar says

    I have Medical and i livein **** earle dr.National city 91950 live with my daughter I think Im qualified for free cell phone program

    • says

      Then you need to contact one of the companies listed in the article above.

  32. amanda says

    I recieved a phone but do not know how to use it… it say i need to insert sim card #2 but no sim card came with it Only the one in the phone already. What should i do?

  33. Marilyn says

    How long did it take for anyone to receive the phone its been two weeks and we still haven’t received it

    • brandi says

      Hello I have a question and a problem I signed up for a phone on the 19th and was told it was coming in the mail and I havent received it yet and I also do not remember what company it was they were behind walmart in Sacramento on 65th and stockton by the bus stops I was in a hurry but I signed up for it just in time when my bus pulled up and never got a card or what day it will come is there a way I can find out what company and where my phone is?

  34. Noi Ho says

    May, 17/2015
    I have already received a California Lifeline the phone and was using it for the past one month , but I received
    a letter starting that I didn’t of California LifeLine Program because :
    1- No longer qualify for Califonia LifeLine.
    2- I am receiving more than one discount.
    3- My address was changed
    4- My personal information incorrect.
    All information above are not correct to me. However I was to completed when my application and I don’t
    changed anything till today but I wonder why today i have received a letter say I was terminated. and disconnect my phone (714) 837-****. So please to check my status again.
    Thank you sincerely . NOI HO

    • says

      We cannot disconnect your phone because we are not your cell phone company. You’ll need to contact whichever company it is.

  35. patricia martinez says

    how do i get a free phone, i am retired and on food stamps, and section 8, and my income is very low, per month?

  36. veronica perez says

    I have already received a free life line phone and was using it for the past 2 months but then I received a letter stating I didn’t provide proof of what program I was in and that my line would be turned off in which it is as of right now..However spoke to a person at life line and was told I didn’t fully complete the application.. So with that being said what paper work must I fill out in order to get my line put on?? Or where can I upload my proof of what u need to complete my application? Greatly appreciate if some one who can help me with this issue Email me back.. Thank you sincerely Veronica Perez

    • says

      You would have to work with whichever company you received the phone from.

  37. Robert Lane says

    I have a SSDI check totaling about 2300/month but the IRS is taking nearly 360 out per month on a lien for the next 2-3 years. Do I qualify SSDI is my only income. Thank you for a response.

    • says

      We don’t believe you can remove the lien amount to adjust your qualification income level.

  38. Perla Fuentes says

    why are families using this to give their kids cell phones. i am sorry but hsi program was intended to help low income families, not for your child to have a cell phone.

  39. John Bristow says


    I would like to find lifeline (wired) home phone and internet. I don’t want caller ID or call waiting for $30.00 a month…I would like just lifeline…for the wait on hold for ever calls…

    I have a land line but am unable to get lifeline…I’ve applied 3 times…(I do qualify) and have had it before.

    All I’ve found is if you have lifeline you can’t get internet. AT&T offers lifeline but you can’t get internet with it…I also have seen adds that offer unlimited talk & text for free but when you get the phone you only get 250 min or text…what should we expect for free…more hot air…

  40. Jennifer Kelly says

    I am a victim of crime and have lost everything. Verizon disconnected me after being a customer for over 2 decades. This last year, I had paid them almost $5000.00. I need a phone to be able to get a job, etc. I told them what had happened, even sent them a chronology with evidence attached, e.g. police reports, etc. They have no care or concern for anyone. They just want their money. I would like to keep my number as I had business cards with my number on them to obtain work. I would like to know why they are so callous and uncaring. I also asked them about their “Hope” program, no one knew what I was talking about. I have been unable to talk to my kids or anyone. What can be done?

    • says

      We can’t post your phone number on this public page. You’ll have to contact your cell phone provider.

  41. janice maclean says

    i qualified for a cell phone thru assurance. application was given to me by my medical worker. i sent in app to assurance, was approved and now i have the cell phone and today i rec’d a text from assurance for me not to forget to fill out application and send to california life line, what app and how do i do this? text says i can lose my unlimited calls and texts. please help me. please e mail your answer. thank you

  42. AMD says

    I know I can apply on line but I was wondering if there are specific locations that i can walk into…I have seen them set up at the WIC office and other places but are no longer there

  43. Taylor says

    A man came to my door and signed me up for a free phone wit my ID and EBT card, he said it will arrive in 3-5 days but It’s been well over a week. I was wondering who I can contact or what to do ?

    • says

      You would have to contact the phone company he worked for, but I bet he didn’t leave you with anything. Hopefully it will be there soon. However, we have to say that we are surprised to hear that the companies are now going door to door signing people up. If you recall the company name please let us know who it is.

  44. Maureen sifuentes says

    My phone was stolen out of my car last night I need to cancel it. Please call me OT tell me how

  45. John Gomez says

    To say the least, I am having trouble with operating & using the function keys to my cell phone – I am looking for the instruction, operating manual for my new cell phone tha I qualified for thru ‘LifeLine’ – I tried to request such a manual thru the ‘Truconnect’ Calif LifeLine Wireless Services phone number but they instructed me to go to ‘Google’ to find such documents – I tried to retrieve the manual searching in the Truconnect, Virgin Mobil, Lifline & NIU or NU(the icon printed on the face of the cell phone) – All to no avail – I doubt that the other names you have mentioned on this page will have me search thru an endless possible sites to find my manual – Some of these sites leads me to other companies phones; Samsung, LG, Verizon, Kyocera & others – IF you know where I may get what I need, please email me direct with the correct email address – I will forward to a quick response & will appreciate your assistance

  46. AliciaMcDaniel says

    Good morning. I atay in Oakland Ca. I have. Coolpad free phone. I was trying to find out were do we go to put money on the phone at. Can you please let me know. Thank you very much

  47. Sarah says

    I am under medical, do I qualify for the phone? Is so, how can I apply? Where can I find application please help.
    Thank you


    I have a cell phone, but am recently on MEDICAID and can not afford it. Do I qualify for the LifeLine service? I live in a skilled nursing facility.


  49. jorge blanco says

    i want to get a phone with budget mobile but they said that I already have an account with lifeline how can I cancel it? thanks.

  50. Fiona David says

    *****[email protected]

  51. David Calvert says

    Is this service temporary or is it permanent? I have so little money ,I wouldn’t be able o buy a phone.

    Thank you,
    Sincerely, David.

    • says

      You need to reaffirm eligibility every year. You’ll be able to use it until the program eventually ends, if it ever does.

  52. David Ledesma says

    I have only a land line. I am subject to falls from seizures, chronic injuries. etc. I have Medical and Medicare. I have oxygen for CPOD and leave my house alone only to walk my dog and with my daughter once a month to get groceries, but she works hard as a chef and has little extra time for anything.A cell phone would give me a measure of safety. I am Federally disabled and, although I consider myself blessed among the world’s citizens, the state considers me part of the “Special Low Income Medicare beneficianary program.” If help for me to move towards the future is available, it would be gralefully recieved.

    • says

      As you can see in the list of qualifications above, in California Medi-cal makes you eligible. Now just contact any of the phone companies you see listed above on this page.

    • says

      You will need to contact the companies listed in California, above, to see who is in Palmdale.

  53. James says

    Today is March 27, 2015. I first contacted Tag Mobile (in Carrolton, TX) on Feb. 20 to use their company for my free cell phone service. They said they’d send an app. By Mar. 2, I did not have it. I called and they said they would send it. By March 14, I had not rec’d. it., so i called again. They again said they’d send it. By March 19, I had not received it, so called. They said they’d overnight it to me. They didn’t. On March 24, they said a man would contact me from their sales team by 48 hr. He didn’t. On Thurs. Mar. 26, they assured me I ‘d be called by 1:00 PM PST. I wasnt’. PLEASE AVOID USING THIS COMPANY. THEY DO NOT SEND APPS. FOR WHATEVER REASON.

  54. Jade Williams says

    I don’t have a phone I need one I baby si children and need to contact there parents for the time being of me having them for the afternoon

  55. Mary says

    Can I use a phone that I already have?
    My friend gave me her old phone, Samsung Galaxy 4 , I am currently unemployed and cannot pay to activate it.

    • Lifeline distributor says

      No. Unfortunately you can only use the phone that is provided to you with the benefit service. Fortunately, companies like us give you a brand new smartphone (android) that you can use with the free minutes and text

  56. Debra Pace says

    I applied for a phone last week and something went wrong after submitting all my information to one of your representatives and was told to come back after 24 hour period to get my phone, well when I returned they told me I would have to come back the next day because they were out of phones and I did and they were still out of phones, so I was told to come back on Monday which I did and the people were not there so here it is Tuesday and the people are still not there. I have you on hold right now a 2 1/2 hour wait and being transferred to 6 different very rude people that don’t seem to know how to rectify this situation. I would like for someone to tell me what you did with my information. They did tell me they gave the phone to someone, well it was not me.

  57. Denise Frane says

    Looking for Phone that works in rural Lake County, California. Not many phone work here. My LG Trac Phone often does not get signal at my home.

    • says

      As with any product, you contact the vendor of the product. If you’re in California, the list of vendors is in the article above.

  58. dawn renee urrutia says

    I applied for your service with surelink and am waiting now that my assurance account expired. I was given my password when i signed up.

  59. Steve Alvarado says

    Please update New California. Provider’s..Surelink,Tag ,Access!. California’s Gold Rush!..who’s next..

  60. louie caballero says

    $ 25,500 for 2 adjusted income is that the threshold for qualifying for free cell phones perhaps internet and T.V service as well ?

  61. Rebecca says

    what if i do not have a proper address for the delivery of a government phone? I have been told I qualify for this.


    • Lifeline distributor says

      Yes, but you can only have one Lifeline program at a time. If you switch, your old phone will get cancelled. Don’t let any lifeline provider convince you that you can keep two free phones (you can’t and the state with notice and cancel both phones….then you have to pay $39 to reactivate your phone)

  62. RUTH PONCE says


    • says

      We have not heard of an end date to it. So far it has only expanded. Generally speaking, government programs don’t end, they just get bigger. For good or worse.

  63. Franklin Dancing Eagle says

    I am a 78 year old male with degenerative joint dease. I am a receiver of Medicare and Medical.
    I would like to know how to and receive a free cell. I am on S’S and SSI.

    • says

      I believe we’ve covered it all in the article on this page, above. Did you have a specific question not answered in the article?

  64. ryan taylor says

    recently my phone from Verizon was lost and i no longer have or am using the account sent to me by the government. please help in any way possible to get a new phone so i can continue to use the privilege of a phone service so kindly provided to me by the tax payers of this county… my contact info at the moment is760 774 **** Thank you very much.

  65. Ron Terrazas says

    MEDI-CAL RECIPIENT IN Califirnua…have AT&T service but phone bill is inconsack survivoristently very high for reasons unknown or unexplainable up to $4000…which is untenable…need help underwrstaning what other options I have here…Los Angeles County resident…disabled….stroke/ heart attack survivor

  66. mark says

    Soy senior y no entiendo bien donde aplicar, necesito hacerlo por la computadora o ir a algun lugar , mi zip code es 90650 y tengo medical

  67. Patty Dann says

    I am inquiring on behalf of my sister. She does not currently have a computer so if you have any info on computers for low income families please pass along.


  68. Lawrence says

    i lost my lifeline phone. any way to put the service on my new phone? and where is the san diego office. i want to apply as a marketer.

  69. Madlen Laura Simms says

    I am a disabled California resident living in Humboldt County. I am interested in a lifeline cellphone for low income/disabled residents.
    I am concerned about reception, as I am told by my family and also a low income friend that Verizon is the only cell service with adequate reception.
    As I would also eventually like to train for employment (accomodating my disability: epilepsy), I will need unlimited talk text AND data/affordable internet service.
    You can reach me at (707) 822-****: this is my father’s home phone. You may leave a message if I am not in.
    My address is Madlen Laura Simms, **** LK Wood Ct. Arcata, CA 95521.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks much, Madlen

  70. Diana clemons says

    how do I join this program to sign
    people up for this free cell phone service I have a building 10,000 square feet and I sometimes hold meetings a couple of my meetings are with low income mothers

    • says

      Each individual joins on their own, by contacting any of the phone providers listed above on this page.

      • Bun sotha says

        Hi I want to apply for free phone but I don’t know where to go. Please can you help me show address in Los Angeles for me .

        Thank you.

  71. Kay James says

    What this article fails to mention is the fact that if you already have Lifeline service with another carrier, you have to cancel your old service and sign up with one of these cell phone carriers in order to get a free cell phone. I live in CA and have had Lifeline with AT&T on my land line for years. Now I’m facing surgery so I wanted a cell phone, but I would have to cancel my Lifeline program with AT&T in order to qualify for a this program. Since I know nothing about these other carriers, I’m not willing to do that. I don’t want to end up paying more for my land line service just to qualify for a free cell phone that I probably won’t use all that much. Better to pay for a $20 cell phone with a pay-as-you-go program than find yourself stuck with a huge bill from some other provider you know nothing about, as far as I’m concerned.

  72. Arshdeep Kaur says

    we are low income family of five members in 92509 zip code area. I am not sure how to get assistance for internet connection and phone services.

  73. nasir says

    i am temporay disability since may 2014 and do have few surgerys to go and my income has reduce since i am on income is $629.80 for every 2 weeks.
    and have 3 children to support.
    please advise if it is possible.
    i do have 2 children in high school.
    thank you,
    nasir hussein

  74. pat Duarte says

    I have cell phone, Lumina 521, is there a lifeline service plan offering free min/text that I can use my own phone rather then the ones they provide

  75. Jose F. Medeiros says

    I signed up for Budget Mobile, and the phone arrived in about two weeks. The refurbished Blackberry 8330 curve works well other then the ball not moving up for selection of items. After three months, they turned off my service claiming that I did not mail in my form to the California Lifeline program, when I actually did, and told me that I have to fill out a new application, and receive a new phone number. What pisses me off is that the customer service rep stated that they can not let me reuse my phone number, isn’t that against the FCC’s portability law for phone numbers?

  76. chuck robbins says

    Hi, I got my phone the day after I wrote y last comment asking about who is responsible if the phone does not arrive. So, that question no longer applies. I am happy to say that activation was a breeze. The phone works great, I am now able to apply for work and leave a phone number for possible employers to contact me.

    My hopes are high that this is going to be the one thing that will guarantee a job for me in the very near future. I would thank the company and the govt., but, in the end it is the taxpayers who pay for this, so, to all of you reading this… THANK YOU!

    Chuck Robbins

  77. Porsha says

    I just mailed back my phone last Friday because it wasn’t working properly. Without having to call and wait on hold forever is there ANYWAY of finding out if my phone has been received?

  78. Dana says

    I have one from budget mobile but it’s totally defective and flips out with no one touching it or even near it. When it first started it all stopped working now the texts. and phone ate working bit the calls won’t. When I try to call someone it says “the code or number I entered is incorrect.” In those words. When someone heiress to call me it says “the number you are calling is temporarily out of service or unavailable.” Does that mean I’m out of mins or is the phone just broken?


    two weeks ago i was coming home at around 9 pm from visiting my ill sister, i am disabled,, my car broke down on the way home i had no way of calling for help as i had no cell phone due to limited funds,i cannot afford one i am 76 yrs old an has to say it was very scary for me as nobody stopped to help me,i had to walk to a gas station that was several blocks,away,i walk with a cane as my mobilty is limited,ths station man was very nice he let me use the phone to call for help,i would so like a free cell phone, to have in case of emergencys, i sure hope i can get a phone it would ease my mind when i go out,

  80. Dan says

    This is for anyone interested in joining Lifeline in California. This has been my experience so far:
    There are two applications to fill out to enroll in the program. One for the Federal Government, and one for the phone company that you chose. They are short and easy to fill out. Once I mailed them off, it took quite awhile to receive the new phone in the mail. But once I did, it was very easy to activate and use right away. The company I joined is Assurance Wireless. They started off giving me 250 free voice minutes every month and 250 text messaging a month. But recently have extended the program for unlimited free minutes & text messages. This company seems to have the best deal. But here’s the thing that didn’t work. Assurance Wireless uses Virgin Mobile which is powered by the Sprint®Network. And unfortunately there is no coverage where some family of mine lives, like Tuolumne County and El Dorado County. So I’m currently trying to switch to another company.

    Reach Out Wireless has coverage service in those areas and they said I can keep the same phone number I have. Unfortunately, and ironically, for a communications company, Reach Out Wireless is very, very difficult to communicate with, and get a hold of. I’ve tried to apply three different times, with three different methods (one through the mail, one by fax, and one on their website), and I still haven’t heard back from them. My mom, who lives where Reach Out has service coverage and Assurance does not, actually did get a Reach Out phone in the mail, but it didn’t work. Turns out the battery was bad and she’s having a hard time getting them to replace it with a working one. If you are lucky enough to get through to them and get a working phone from them, and if their plan hasn’t changed, you still get 250 voice minutes a month but they charge $2.50 every month. That’s only 1 cent a minute. And if you need more minutes it cost another $2.50 for another 250 minutes. So, they’re not free, but still pretty cheap.

    The latest good news: When I first applied almost a year ago, there were only two companies in California to choose from. Now there are four. Telscape Communications and Budget Mobile both offer 1000 free voice minutes. But Telscape doesn’t cover my area. Budget Mobile does, but they said I cannot keep the phone number I already have. On the plus side Budget does cover parts of Tuolumne County and El Dorado County.

    You will have to renew your participation in the Lifeline Program every year to be reviewed and to see if you are still eligible. And you may be reviewed at any time. So just like any other government assistance program, there is “oversight” making sure no one is “cheating the system”. Which is good. I only need the assistance when I’m not making enough money and can’t afford the bills. So there you have it. I hope this helps.

  81. Timothy Cook says

    I have had three out of the 4 plans in california. I would not recommend Reachout wireless
    there “free” phone’s are poorly refurbished and tend to breakdown And contacting customer service is a bitch. This is not only my experience but my friends as well. I left Assurance to go to Telescape because (at the time) they offered more minutes. I am sticking with Telscape (even though Assurance now has an unlimited plan) for one reason. The Assurance cell phones are new, but small. A little difficult for someone with vision problems or disabilities. As far as I know you can’t use another phone. I know for a fact you can’t use any kind of smart phone. Other than that I found assurance to be superior in every other way. They are easy to contact, customer service is always helpful and friendly etc etc. I just wish the had bigger phones.

  82. Roger says

    I am a homeless man. I make about $6/month recycling cans. I cannot prove income because you can’t prove a negative. I have never gotten any government assistance. Or a job. I would like a phone with 30 talk minutes/month (no texts, I don’t know how to use those). It would save me a lot of time because people could tell me when to meet them and I wouldn’t have to go places only to find they weren’t there. I have never had a phone. My question: How can I get a phone without an address and without proof of non-existant income?


    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      Unfortunately, there’s probably not a way for you to get a phone, because 1) you need a physical address, and 2) you have to be on either one of the qualifying government assistance programs or prove you low-income with pay stubs, etc.

      It’s a shame that someone who is poor, homeless and doesn’t take money from the government, is a person that cannot get a free phone.

      • Lifeline distributor says

        if you stay on and off or eat at a shelter or food pantry for hot meals, you are allowed to use their address as your temporary address to apply for the phone. I would suggest that you apply for EBT (food stamps) that way you can not only get food in your stomach, but you can then apply for a free government phone. Not sure what area you are in sir but if you are in South Orange County, the General Relief offie will give you an EBT card the same day you apply….2020 w walnut st, santa ana, CA

    • Dan says

      Hey Roger,
      I’m homeless too. I gave them the address for the homeless shelter I go to as my residence. And they accepted that. As for your income, I would assume that $0 income would qualify you. You shouldn’t need to show any documents of $0 income. Maybe send them copies of your payment stubs for recycling cans. It’s worth a try.
      Good luck brother.

      • ed says

        But then once you’ve given them a receipt proving you had earned income by recycling . With the IRS and our present administration you may be forced to pay a TAX on those few dollars you made , but you’ll still get your phone .

  83. Stephanie hollon says

    My family are involved in cal works, cal fresh (snap), medical, lunch programs, I was given a number while whatching commercials and applied but we were told our city wasn’t eligible, but I keep receiving calls and am told we are qualified. I would like a straight answer please.

    Stephanie, Jack, ****** (16) and ***** (15)
    **** Levelside Ave.
    Lakewood, ca, 90712

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      We don’t have anyway of knowing, as you would have to contact the various vendors on this page. The best deal in California is Assurance Wireless so try them first.

    • Lifeline distributor says

      You qualify if you receive any of the participating benefits. Go to your local benefits office (General Relief Office)….many times there are companies posted outside that are signing people up for these programs right there. That way you can ask them in person. Look for my company “Access Wireless,” we will give you a brand new activated Android Smartphone right there in person

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      They are to help people of low-income, via income verification or participation in various government programs. There is absolutely nothing to do with race or ethnicity.

  84. suzanne cyr says

    in 2012 i signed up with Verizon, they had a discounted landline type phone for $20 unlimited voice, no text, no data, But they overcharged me every month, and stole from me,,i had to sign a two year contract, it was a nightmare to my budget,

  85. Paul Wright says

    I would like to thank Assurance Wireless Virgin Mobil for after following instructions and directions I have received my first phone. I was told from the beginning that it would not work in brick buildings. I have only found one place that I don’t get a bar to send a text. I am pleased that I get unlimited minutes for voice and unlimited texts. Oh, by the way I am a bricklayer.

  86. Sonjanette says

    I signed up for my Obama phone on 8/04/2014 through a vendor at the Riverside Bus Terminal and have not heard anything or gotten my phone can you tell me what is going on

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      It takes a while to get these phones, more than a month often. You can contact the company, which is one of the ones listed on this page.

  87. Ali Zaidi says

    Good Morning
    I want to know how to apply for free phone because i am very low income person, i am diedbities patient and my also. My total monthly income $971 after deduction. I have section 8 house and food stamp also. Due to diedbities i cant hard work. I am working as a Security Guard in Orange County . Can you e mail office address?
    [address removed]

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      Sorry, we don’t send out applications. You need to contact one of the vendors on this page.

  88. Kat says

    I have received the free phone offered but I would like to use a phone I already have instead of the free phone offered. How can I achieve this?

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      Some vendors let you bring your own phone if it is compatible with their network. You’ll just have to contact them all and ask.

  89. Kat says

    I was sent an alert message via email when I changed my personal identification number (PIN). Is it normal practice for both the PIN and account number to be sent in the same email? If is not, how do I go about switching companies (does the 60-day rule still apply)?

  90. Angelique says

    If you haven’t found any locations yet. I have a couple of places: 90th and Bancroft & 35th and International. I just got my phone from 90th and Bancroft last week. This one is through Budget Mobile I believe. You get 1,000 minuets & unlimited texts a month. The phones are really nice.

  91. Myriam says

    Hello, My husband applied to the program but the phone didn’t work and had a very bad signal in my area, we applied with Telscape, can we switch the company?… do you know if Verizon will come soon with this program because my area its kind of difficult for reception, Telscape told me to return the phone but know that I know that we can choose the company, we would like verizon better, Can we?

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      You can switch companies after 60 days. At that time you would contact another California provider and them them you want to switch. No plans that we know of for Verizon to enter the free Lifeline cell phone biz.

  92. Maria C Muro says

    I am snding this message, because I am trying to help an elder person who is 81 years old and she doesn’t speak too much English and she doesn’t have a computer. Where she can apply for this program? I will really appreciate your help.

    Please contac me and help me to help some one in need.


    Maria C Muro

  93. Dino says

    I was signed up and approved back in June of this year. I spoke once to the 1-800 number and was assured my phone was being shipped and that was on July 1st. It’s now middle of August and no phone and funny thing is. That 800 number is now out of service. I’ve spoken with the partnership that takes care of the ten dollars and was advised that’s same number they have and the number I was issued was in fact registered to me. So how do I contact a number that no longer works and receive a phone that’s already registered to me?

    • Dino Soke says

      It has been since July 1st since I’ve received my “Qualification” letter for the Lifeline program but as of yet I have not received the phone. The 1-800-480-0430 number seems to be out of service. I have spoken once to them and was assured the phone was being sent. That was June 25th, 2014 when I spoke with the person. How do I go about calling a real number to a real person to receive my phone???

  94. jewell says

    I’m on food stamps and get $300 in cash aide. My son is a 8th grader. Is there a plan we can get for us to have phones. And my son gets free food from school as well

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      Yes, there is! Just look up at this page and you’ll see links for Assurance Wireless,
      Budget Mobile, ReachOut Wireless and Telscape. The school lunch program he is on will qualify him.

  95. MIeng Nguyen says

    I have received the letter to qualify for one Life line cell phone on 06-06-2014.But i didn’t got any cellphone until now. Please review and response my case.

    Thank you so much.
    Mieng Nguyen

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      You need to contact your phone provider. We’re not the cell phone company.

  96. ron weiner says

    If I qualify for a free cellphone and I have two children in school is there cellphone assistance for them.

    • kennedy says

      you can give one the free reachout phone and the other a (mostly) free freedompop phone. you have to buy a sprint phone and pay $20 to activate it,but after that its completely free as long as you only use the 500mb free data.

  97. stephen fine says

    Hi my name is stephen fine a gentleman about 5 weeke ago signed me to an obama phone at the losangeles mission i was just wondering where it was and if i was still getting one thank you because i would like to have one thank you