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. Unfortunately, when they did, the program had a small monthly fee associated with it. However, this still was much less than a traditional plan sets a phone user back.
But now Lifeline cell phone giant Assurance Wireless has joined the battle for distributing free phones to needy Californians. And better news yet, not only is Assurance Wireless offering the program for at no cost, but Budget, ReachOut Wireless and others are also doing so now. And, we see new regional providers opening up shop.
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 three companies listed below are three of the big five players. We would not doubt that they and others begin operations in the state shortly.
Free Cell Phone Providers in California:
Here’s a list of all the Lifeline Assistance free government cell phones in California. They all offer different plans with different numbers of minutes, different refill options, and serve different geographic areas. So click through them all and find the plan that’s best for you.
Lifeline Discount Companies in California
If you qualify for Lifeline Assistance, but 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 Lifeline discounts off their regular mobile phone plans in California:
How to Qualify for a Lifeline Cell Phone in California
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:
- 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)
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|
|For each additional member add $6,200 annual or $516.67 monthy|
Latest News for California:
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