- The cost of living in the United States has increased by over 8% in the last year, leading to financial strain for many people.
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assigned programs to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to help low-income residents afford internet and phone services.
- To qualify for a free government iPhone, individuals must meet income requirements or be part of a federal assistance program.
- The Lifeline and ACP programs offer free or heavily discounted smartphones, including older models from brands like Apple, Samsung, LG, and Motorola.
- If individuals don’t qualify for the Lifeline program, they can explore trade-in programs with major service providers or check if their employer or school offers free smartphones as part of their benefits.
The cost of living in the United States inflated by an average of around 8% in the last year, and most of us are feeling it. From food to gas and everything in between, we’re all trying to save money where we can. Fortunately, we don’t have to break the bank on communication; with the right knowledge, we can get a free government iPhone.
Companies such as Apple, Samsung, and more are helping out, providing old, refurbished models to make calling and texting easier to afford. Some can even get a free iPhone 14. However, how do we take advantage of these programs? If you’re struggling to pay your phone bill, you’ll want to keep reading.
Free Government iPhone Programs
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our social services relied heavily on connectivity; schools and businesses transitioned from in-person to online. To help facilitate this massive shift, the federal government created multiple financial programs.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assigned these programs to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), a nonprofit organization that aims to help low-income residents afford internet and phone services.
As part of their agreement with the FCC, the USAC received nearly $10 billion to fund service and equipment discounts. A large sum goes toward the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides lower monthly bills for broadband (up to $30 lower a month).
Additionally, the USAC facilitates the Lifeline program, which connects you to a phone or internet company that helps you receive a free or heavily discounted smartphone. The providers vary by state, but the most accessible include:
- American Assistance
- Assurance Wireless
- Safelink Wireless
- Q Link Wireless
- Budget Mobile
- Access Wireless
Here’s how to find your nearest Lifeline provider.
Available Providers in Each State
To get your free government iPhone, you’ll first need to find a local service company participating in the Lifeline and ACP programs.
To do this, you need to visit the USAC website and use the Companies Near Me tool. After carefully reading the information and instructions on the page, follow these steps:
- Enter your zip code or city and state
- Select the Lifeline program
- Select the Mobile Service option
- Click ‘Search’
The tool takes you to another page with a list of service companies. Clicking on each company takes you to their eligibility page, where you can find their offers, qualifications, and applications. If your list has limited or no options, you can search your entire state at the bottom.
Be aware that to receive your free phone, you’ll have to switch your service provider. So if you’re already with a major company such as Verizon or AT&T, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth swapping.