A Federal Program Designed to Assist Those in Need. Lifeline is a federal program designed to ensure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income customers at just, reasonable, and affordable rates. Lifeline support reduces eligible low-income consumers' monthly charges for basic telephone service. The Assurance Wireless offer provides eligible low-income customers free monthly data, unlimited texting, free monthly minutes, and a free phone, based on availability. A free phone is not guaranteed and enrollment is available to individuals who qualify based on federal or state-specific eligibility criteria.
The federal government created the Lifeline Assistance program in 1985. At that time, it was recognized that there were important benefits associated with phone access and a concern that low-income households may not be able to afford phone service on their own. Consumers who qualify based on federal or state-specific eligibility criteria can obtain discounted or free phone service through the Lifeline Assistance program.
Who qualifies for the Lifeline Program? In general, you may qualify based on household income or if you or a member of your household participates in certain public assistance programs like Medicaid/Medi-Cal, Food Stamps/SNAP/CalFresh or SSI. You may need to provide proof of income or proof of program participation. The Lifeline Assistance program is available for only one wireless or wireline account per household. Separate households that live at the same address are eligible, including residents of homeless shelters and nursing homes. Residents with temporary addresses are also eligible.