New York: Free Government Cell Phone Providers

New York, which had the nation’s largest, most powerful economy just a few decades ago, recently fell into third place behind Texas. Manufacturing has declined, taxes have increased and businesses are leaving the state as fast as they can build headquarters elsewhere.

They leave behind more unemployed and more underemployed Empire Staters. In other words, more people eligible for the Lifeline free cell phone and free minutes program.

Free Cell Phone Providers in New York:

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

If you qualify for Lifeline Assistance, but you find that none of the companies offer free government cell phones where you live, 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 New York:

Free or Discounted Lifeline Mobile Phone Eligibility in New York:

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

  • Medicaid
  • Food Stamps/SNAP
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) or Section 8
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program

In New York, you may also qualify if your Total Household Income is at or under 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. See chart below, which shows the income levels calculated for you:

Income Based Eligibility for New York
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 New York:

Terracom Wireless and Tag Mobile Seek to Expand to 8 More States and the District of Columbia - ReachOut Wireless and Tag Mobile are petitioning the FCC to enter Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
ReachOut Wireless to Enter 8 More States and the District of Columbia - ReachOut Wireless is petitioning the FCC to enter Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

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


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post your comment...

  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. tami says

    My 88 yr. old neighbor has a free phone. She carries it with her for emergencies. Will she lose her phone if she doesn’t use it?

  2. Kelly says


    Last September I was working full time in CA and switched from Sprint to ATT because with Sprint I had no service in my classroom. Little did I know, this year I would end up back home in NY, needing Medicaid, and on Social Security Disability. So I’m trying to get an access wireless phone/plan, but as of now if I terminate my ATT account I’ll be hit with a $350 bill. So my question is, does Medicaid or the state cover the Early Termination Fee? Because otherwise I’m stuck here paying $85 a month for service that I could get for almost free through access, and I really can’t afford ATT at this point since I had to go over 6 months with no income whatsoever. Please help asap, thanks in advance!

  3. Pam says

    I have free health insurance through the exchange in New York State. I meet the minimum guidelines but the insurance is not called Medicaid it is called Fidelis which is a managed Medicaid company. Does this qualify me for a phone?

  4. Les says

    Why every time i use my gov phone we get chared for mins before the call is answered also when call D.H.S by the time the answer the call u loose ur 250free min this is a bunch of bull

  5. Charles Morrison says

    i have no income ….i receive Fidelis Care and Medicaid ..I need phone to call Dr. ….appointments How do i apply for one

  6. Sharon Kahn says

    I just closed my mother’s account with Safelink. The account service there is awful (for example, different answers to a simple yes/no question from different reps, rudeness, long holds, being disconnect… just to start). I don’t even want to deal with them for free.

    My elderly mother received a small Samsung tracfone which she was unable to use because the numbers are too small, as are the function buttons. It has never been used. Do I have to return the phone? She has accumulated a fair number of Lifeline minutes — can those be tranferred to another user?

    Thank you for your help.

  7. mark park says

    if i receive no governmental assistence from the aforementioned programs, will i need to submit my federal tax info, or my new york state tax filing ????
    thank you

  8. Kathy Fox says

    If you are eligible to receive the Lifeline discount on the monthly land line (home) phone, are you also eligible for the free government cell phone too?

    • says

      I would write it all out here for you, but we’ve already written it up, so you can learn how by just reading the article above.

    • says

      If you are in NY, read this page. If another state, click the “States” link up in the header.

  9. Valerie Black says

    I lost my free government cell phone and want to know how I would go about shutting it off and receiving another one. The number is 585-773-**** and I live in Rochester, New York, Monroe County.

  10. Christine says

    Hi my mom is in a nursing home, I am her health care proxy, and live in Florida and she lives in New York How do I get her one as she can not reach me in an emergency .she is on Medicaid and Medicare,

    Thank you

  11. jerry snell says

    hi i am submitting this request on behalf of my very low income neighbor timothy bessete he is on a fixed income and could really benefit from a cellphone,he does not have an e-mail address so i am using mine for him,how does he apply for this nfree phone service?thank you so much 315-854-****.

    • says

      What you need to do is pick one of the phone providers listed on this page and then complete the online application, or do it over the phone with them.

  12. george gennett says

    I’m a terminal ill person on ssi and Medicaid. my daughter is my health proxy and I have no way to contact her in a emergency. please help me if you can. thank you.

  13. Diana says

    My mother recently applied for one of these cell phones. She is 78 years old. The phone was delivered by mail but she was not home. This was on sat 9/27/14. On monday 9/29/14 she went to P.O. With her postal receipt to retrieve the cell phone. They can not find the package. Can she have another cell phone sent to her. Can that cell phone be tracked by the phone company.

  14. MD. Ahmed says

    My roommate has a life line phone with assurance. Is that possible that I get one of those?I have Medicaid with Affinity.

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      You cannot get one, from any vendor, if you roommate used your shared address on her application. Only one per household.

  15. shirley says

    i have recertify for the phone and they are telling me all the information i gave them is wrong…. if it is wrong they put it in wrong they need to get someone that knows what they are doing or send the people a phone it’s getting to be a bunch of bullshit just to get the phone updated because you move to a new address i sent everything in even on paper just a few weeks ago

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      You have to first get your phone deal with Safelink canceled. Although I would not turst that the national records will be updated in a timely fashion, or at all. But if you wait until the end of your 12 months of your Safelink phone contract, if you don’t recertify then you should be able to go to a new vendor then.

  16. Joan Heusel says

    I’m an 81 year old women who had a free assurance cell phone several years ago. I lost it pretty quickly. My daughter is interested in a free home phone in case of emergency. If this is not possible, am I entitled to another cell phone with unlimited calling for a reasonable price. Thankyou for your help.
    Joan Heusel


    I filled in forms outside the office which gave me my foodstamps card several months ago, and never received my phone. I gave my home address, e-mail and SS number. It worries me.