Ohio: Listing of Free Cell Phone Providers

The Buckeye State’s unemployment rate is even higher than the national average. When a recent Ohio newspaper poll asked the question “Are you worried about losing your job,” a remarkable 41% answered that they were already retired or unemployed.

Obviously, the state’s unemployment rate isn’t that high, but it does indicate how widespread the problem is in the Buckeye State. And it shows that there are a lot of Ohioans who can benefit from the Lifeline phone service program.

Luckily, Lifeline is available to provide free cell phones and free minutes to the state’s residents.

In May 2011, Ohio accepted Assurance Wireless into the state, and soon Safelink Wireless followed. Now, Ohio residents have a number of Lifeline providers to choose from. Call several of them and see what types of phones they offer, and ask about texting charges and rollover minutes — the plans may differ slightly.

Free Cell Phone Providers in Ohio:

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

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 Kentucky:

Ohio Lifeline Eligibility

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

  • Section 8/Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Medicaid
  • Food Stamps
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Free National School Lunch Program (NSL)
  • General Assistance/Disability Assistance
  • Home Energy Assistance (HEAP)
  • Supplemental Security Disability Income (SSDI)
  • Ohio Works First or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

You may also qualify if your Total Household Income is at or under 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. We’ve taken care of the math for you and you can check your income against the amounts in the table below:

Income Based Eligibility for Ohio
Members in Household Annual income Monthly Income
1 member $17,655 $1,471
2 members $23,895 $1,991
3 members $30,135 $2,511
4 members $36,200 $3,017
5 members $42,615 $3,551
6 members $49,855 $4,155
7 members $55,095 $4,591
8 members $61,335 $5,111
For each additional member add $4,160 annual or $347 monthy

Latest News for Ohio:

Free cell phone fraud out of control in Ohio - In 2008 there were only 280,000 state residents enrolled, but by 2011 it had increased to nearly 600,000. But 26,500 Ohio recipients have already been busted for violating the rules.
Cincinnati Bell enters Lifeline cell phone program in Ohio - Cincinnati Bell has just entered the Lifeline cell phone market in Ohio, with plans to expand in neighboring Kentucky soon.
Assurance Wireless Expands into Ohio with Lifeline Free Phones Service - People in Ohio who are facing tough economic times received a little bit more help this month, as Assurance Wireless became the second provider of no-cost Lifeline cell phones to the poor there.

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


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. Brad says

    I am in desperate need of a wireless phone. I am my 79 year old mother’s full time caretaker. I/we need to be able to stay in contact with each other when I leave the house. I mainly need to be able to call & check on her & she needs to be able to contact me in case of a medical emergency or for any thing she may need while I am at the grocery, bank, etc. I am on Medicaid & on Food Assistance. We MUST be able to reach each other in case of emergencies! There was an emergency three years ago when she was in a terrible car accident & she had no way of letting me know that she had been in an accident, totaled the car, & was hurt. Please Help! This is a must have situation for safety & health reasons & to also give us both a sense of security & peace of mind being able to check on her while I’m out & if she needs to contact me. Once again, please help!!! And thank you very much for your help concerning this matter & for your understanding.

    Brad Bunker

  2. Linda says

    I have uploaded proof of Medicaid twice now and emailed the support team and tried calling I dont get an answer. Online it says it’s in the process of being verified still yet i just received an email stating they didn’t receive my proof. I have paid my phone service and want to know what’s going on. I either want to get a refund or the phone. I need it or wouldnt have applied. Emergency phond yet i have to go thru all this trouble??

  3. angela beekman says

    i have applied for a budget mobile about 2 mths ago and uploaded proof still havnt herd anything back i dont know if i have been approved.

  4. vikki cabaniss says

    My battery went dead and my book is lost also. I have drove everywhere, Batteries not sold! Where do I get one? Also ,Did it delete my numbers and names?

  5. david lee mccoy says

    i do not know whom i am with,my phone dead i need a new one,and possible with some one with a phone that my big fingers will fit on the buttons,please help.thank you.phone 740-444-**** my cell was 740-426-****.

    • FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net says

      You probably just ned to purchase a new battery, and you don’t need to go to your provider to get it. Just go to a Best Buy, Staples or search Amazon.

  6. Dennis says

    I am a 63 year old Vietnam Vet, and currently on 10% disability. I do not have any income besides a $132.00 a month disability from VA. A person allows me to reside with them, but there is no family or close connection. I am not on any other type of assistance program. I am trying to get VA to approve my many other disabilities, but, that takes a long time. So, my question is, when it comes to “house hold income”, do I have to include the persons income who simply allows me to live with them , instead of me being homeless? YES, they have in the past year claimed me as a dependent, because I cannot contribute to them any way financially. Help please. Not being on any type of assistance, and living in someones home who has an income which exceeds the minimum amount seems to disqualify me,,, but I am not really a “member of the household” as I see it, but how does the program view this situation.???

    • FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net says

      We found this definition at LifelineSupport.org:

      Your household is everyone that lives together at your address as one economic unit (including children and people who are not related to you.)

      An economic unit is all adults that live with you and contribute to and share in the income and expenses of the household. Household expenses include: food, health care expenses (medical bills), the cost of renting or paying a mortgage, and utilities (including water, heat and electricity).

    • FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net says

      We can’t contact you about this, you need to contact one of the companies on the list in the article above.

  7. Elaine Hogan says

    I think I realize now, after reading your fact based information for the suppliers in Ohio, that the names of many of the programs cause much confusion. Specifically, when I dialed “Lifeline” at Cin Bell last week, I was not connected to the Lifeline letter which Cin Bell sent out requiring re verification due to the 1 home/1 person rule. Maybe that is incorrect, it is too confusing to tell, but that 800 # no longer works anyway. Also, I remember having their current cell phone service 20-25 years ago via Cin Bell and it was just called wireless. I remember it because I was always trying to hit the minutes amount without penalty. How can they call I Wireless a Lifeline program? I recognised that the CSR told me to apply at a Cin Bell store and that gave it away to me that it was only for their IWireless. I appreciate this site for clarification and I think the only help I need now (no need to print my letters) is to figure out who is the Lifeline program that makes the decisions which seemingly required Safelink to deactivate my phone. I am willing to understand my/any mistakes I have made to have the safety of the cell phone when I am out the door. Thank you very much. I really appreciate your site and hard work synthesizing so much information for so many folks.

  8. Elaine Hogan says

    I have gratefully used Safelink for 3 years by qualifying under 3 criteria and re certified every year by phone or online. But I have been accused by Lifeline, now operated by Cin Bell, of 2 people having Lifeline phones at my address. It took me awhile to figure out why the previously polite customer service are no longer answering my questions and concluded (they won’t respond to me) they do not believe me or ? I followed Cin Bell’s directions in December by verifiing via 800 line that I was, indeed, the only one at my address using Lifeline. Safelink even sent a new phone when mine was no longer serviceable. I even went along when Lifeline’s CSR insisted I have to re verify as if I’d never been in the program. When I told them that I used to board homeless women here until they were able to find a place to live and one of them still uses my address for other programs I thought there would be a solution. I have read about the fraud which now permeates the program but I am frightened to go 2 weeks, 4, 6 weeks without the phone. What can I do to get the help I need? I get nowhere when I call. Thank you for your assistance.

    • FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net says

      Your address is obviously showing up twice on the FCC’s National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), which every vendor legally must check. We are not aware of any process for an individual to correct the information on there — it must be done my a phone vendor. It’s like being on the no-fly list, you’re screwed.



  10. Bijay says

    I am here at ohio columbus I would like to know where I can go in person to get free phone service I am very new to this place my zip code is 43224

  11. saida berkioun says

    i barely two months here in Ohio and I am pregnant and i don’t work and I have no money to buy a cell phone since I took needs to make an appointment at the hospital. i need a cell phone if you can help me please
    My address is *** KING AVE APT BLDG 1 9 COLUMBUS OH 43212 ZIP CODE

  12. Dorothy Stinchcomb says

    assurance wireless cut me off because I would not agree to allow a third party to have access to my cell number and my personal information, what else do we have to do sell our soul? so I am looking for another service after being with them for 5 years.

  13. Calvin Felder JR. says

    My phone was stolen and I would like to get a replacement phone but I don’t know what company my phone was with. I tried to get a replacement phone today but I was told that I was already in the system but I don’t know what company I was with. I am still trying to get a replacement phone. I would like to know how I could report the company so that I could get a replacement phone

  14. Ashley Schmachtenberger says

    Hi, My name is Ashley. I am a Family Advocate for Head Start in Dover ohio. I am looking to help a family in our program. dad informed me today that they have to have their phones turned off due to economic hardship. we have to have a way to reach them while their child is in our program so i offered your program, but they have no way of signing up themselves. they have no internet anymore, and no gas to get to the center for me to help them. so he has given me permission to fill out the application on his behalf.
    I am actually having a difficult time finding the online app. i have been directed in circles…if you could, please send me a link to the application.
    thank you!
    Family Advocate
    HARCATUS Head Start
    Dover Learning Center

  15. LOIS J YOUNG says

    I received a message i had to recertify, when i tried the number it kept cutting out on me, so i called customer service to see what’s going on. I was informed that i have to send in a copy of my drivers licence, and bank statement since i have direct deposit, i ger ssd every month nothing has changed since i signed up 4 or 5 years ago is this true, it sounds kind of fishy to me, & it was a guy i couldn’t understand very well so had to have him keep repeating what he said, my question is do i have to send this stuff in or can it be something else that doesn’t have certain information on it, not comfortable with sending anybody my banking info ty

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      We certainly would not recommend sending anything with your bank information on it to anyone.

  16. Betty Jeanne McClintock says

    At 76 years of age and receiving a PERS Retirement Direct Deposit of $945.97 PLUS Social Security of
    $198.00 = Total of $1143.97. It appears to me I qualify, do I? Also have a sever hearing problem that
    Ohio Rehab mostly helped me to get, so do you have a free phone for the hearing impaired?

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      You qualify but I don’t know if any of the providers have phone for the hearing-impaired.

  17. Jeanie Friar says

    I have lost access to phone service due to inability to pay for a replacement phone for the one I purchased from the Cricket company, who does not provide service in the Ohio Barberton area. I was willing to pay for the Forty Six dollars to have mobile web, so I had contact with out of state relatives, but the phone died and I cannot afford to replace it and they won’t honor the warranty. I got it in September 2013 and it dies two days ago July 14, 2014. I see no other option but to apply for a “free phone” as I am below the poverty guidelines indicate above. Could you mail the application to me as access to the computer is limited to when it is not used by other residents in my senior living facility? I hope so. Thank you.

  18. Theodore J. Nesbitt says

    I am 72 years old, single and retired. I receive $1001 per month in Social Security benefits and a teachers’ retirement check of $331 per month. My total monthly income is $1332. I have taken a part-time job through which I earn about $180 per month — and most months less than that.

    Am I eligible for a cell phone or any other kind of government assistance?

    Thank you.

    Ted Nesbitt

  19. Richard M. Basil says

    I am on Social Security Disability, and I get extra help, and HEAP. I am interested in government free cell phone. Thank you