Illinois: Free Cell Phones from the Government

On one hand, Illinois is an economic powerhouse: Its 2010 total gross state product was fifth in the nation. The 2010 per capita income was $41,411.

On the other hand, the state is in dire financial condition despite its size. For too many years, the Land of Lincoln has spent far beyond its means which has caused even greater problems for its residents as the national economy has slowed.

The state has attempted to solve its budget deficit by raising corporate taxes, which has caused companies to leave the state, making the unemployment situation even worse.

Luckily, the Lifeline phone service program is here to help the unemployed and other financially disadvantaged people to get a free cell phone from the government. When you have a free cell phone and free minutes, it makes it a lot easier to contact prospective employers and land the job you need.

And you have two main choices from which to get your Lifeline phone. We’re still waiting for the third major company in this space, Assurance Wireless, to enter the market; they will eventually. And you’ll also see that their is a smaller companies that offers the cell phones as well.

Free Cell Phone Providers in Illinois:

Here’s a list of all the Lifeline Assistance free government cell phones in Illinois. 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 Illinois

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 Illinois:

Lifeline Cell Phone Eligibility in Illinois:

You are eligible if you receive benefits from any of these programs in Illinois:

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance / Section 8
  • Food Stamps
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • National School Lunch (free program only)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Medicaid

You may also qualify in Illinois if your Total Household Income is at or under 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. See our handy chart below that shows those levels at the 135% rate already calculated for you:

Income Based Eligibility for Illinois
Members in Household Annual income Monthly Income
1 member $15,890 $1,324
2 members $21,506 $1,792
3 members $27,122 $2,260
4 members $32,738 $2,728
5 members $38,354 $3,196
6 members $43,970 $3,664
7 members $48,586 $4,049
8 members $55,202 $4,600
For each additional member add $5,516 annual or $460 monthly

Latest News for Illinois:

If you have any other questions, please refer to the links in the sidebar.


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  1. If you are going to ask "how do I get a cell phone?" go here instead.
  2. If you are going to ask "how do I get a replacement phone," go here instead
  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. Alex says

    I’ve had my number for about 5 years and recently I’ve been getting calls and texts for someone else who apparently received on of these government phones with the same phone number as mine. I would like this to stop as I’m actually paying for my number and cannot change it as it is listed for all things related to my autistic son. Is there any way this issue can be fixed?

  2. Christi Ginter says

    I had qualified for a free phone and it was going to be delivered in 4-5 days. I went in the hospital for 9 days soon after qualifying. I think they tried to deliver it but no one was here. Can it be sent again?

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      We do not know which cell phone company you applied to. The best way for you to get the answer to your question is to contact that company directly.

  3. Armando Gutierrez says

    Please send me some information on your free phone service and how it works. Thank you and have a nice day.

  4. robert hathaway says

    what other cell phone plans are our there in the Chicago area for low income people other then saftlink

  5. Kris Hayden says

    I am an advocate working with a woman from my church. She had a public aid free cellphone and is trying to get another one for her son who is 14 and needs one to be able to call her. They do not have a landline phone where they are living.

    Can you please help me help her.

    • says

      Only one Lifeline phone or discount is allowed per household, so her son will not be able to receive a phone.

  6. Candice says

    I have been trying to get a phone for a couple of years now and the problem my husband and I are having is we only have a p o box, they don’t deliver mail to my home address and every time we try our physical address they say they can’t find it. What can we do? Thanks

  7. Judy says

    The two of us draw social security, have about $100 more a month than the limit
    of income is.
    Guess you can’t help us out.
    Maybe should sign up for link card, at one time we could get $16 a month from it, which
    would make us elgible for the free government phone.

    But guess we can manage, such a hassle to sign up for government help, the workers at
    the government departments act as if the money is coming out of their pay.
    Maybe some day I will feel the $16 a month food stamps is necessary to survive, but not
    at this time.

  8. Esther M M Barnett & Lolita Castillo says

    We we at the Cook County Stroger Hospital back in Early November.

    man told us both that we qualified for a free phone after we gave him ID and informatin

    No repsonse yet. He did not give us any follow-up contact. We only agreed because we

    hae seen the table outside. But it was cold. he was in the waiting room at Fantus Clinic.

    HOW CAn WE Check?

  9. monique sommer says

    Our family has only one cell phone, which we cant afford. However, we could be assured to have access to all of our medical professionals and community resources with a cell phone, like what you are offering.
    The kids are also limited in being able to complete school work due to lack of home computer access. All resources would be tremendously appreciated. Thank you.

  10. Hansen McFearson says

    Is a cell phone a necessary offered luxury to a low income user? Or should a home line be something more appropriate?

  11. Smita P Desai says

    I am 60 years old person with disability since more than last 17 years. I am getting disability from social security. I have medicad I need a cell phone. Please let me 847 285 ****
    Thanks, Smita

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      We can’t call you Smita as we’re not the cell phone company. But you can call any of the cell phone providers we’ve listed above.

  12. candace porter says

    need to find out to get a free government cell phone i have the medical card a child in school they go through 1 cheers i have snapchat which is linked in my address is **** north maple street centralia illinois 62801 if you could please send me an application so i can fill it out in get a phone i would greatly appreciate it thanks

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      We can’t send anything to you as we are not a phone company. You need to contact one of the providers listed above.

  13. paula says

    I have tried all of the companies and it keeps saying invalid address..i changed my address and am getting my mail and public aid notices…….whats wrong????

  14. Lesa says

    I’m a case manager in supportive housing. My client has been terminated from her free phone because they say she is on a list that says she is already getting service from another carrier. The phone companies are not telling us where the other account is so that we can cancel it so she can at least have one working phone. I have called at least one other carrier who says her account is cancelled already but this list for people who appear to have multiple carriers seems to live somewhere in the government.

    I wish to be connected to a central point where we can explain to one person that my client has NO service so how does she get this old warning list to phone companies straightened out with the correct information? Going forward I’m working with her to not pick up the “free” phones they offer outside of the Illinois Department of Human Services but since she’s mentally impaired it’s hard for her to understand. Why can’t she just be denied because she already has service and not be able to get new service until she cancel’s the other?

  15. Wesley Bowen says

    I am trying to help my Dad sign up for a phone. He lives in Quincy, Il. Is there an application you could send me? My address is **** Washington St. Gary, In. 46408. Any help would be appreciated.