The Lifeline phone program provides free cell phones and minutes to low income, senior, and unemployed individuals. Operating since 1985, the Lifeline program ensures that all Americans have access to family, jobs, and emergency services. This program is available to qualified low-income citizens in every state and territory. Only one Lifeline discount is available per household, and eligibility is determine using Federal Public Housing Assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Those who qualify receive a free smartphone, a minimum of 500 free minutes and a determined number of texts each month with no contracts. The top three Lifeline phone providers include Safelink Wireless, Assurance Wireless, and ReachOut Wireless. Read on to find out more about the Lifeline phone program.

Top 3 Lifeline Phone Providers

  • Safelink Wireless
  • Assurance Wireless
  • ReachOut Wireless

Safelink Wireless

Safelink Wireless is a Tracfone company that provides cell phones to those who qualify. The majority of phones use the Verizon network. However, coverage and the type of phone provided depends on where customers live. Many Safelink phones have limited data connections. The Safelink program is only available in certain states, and interested customers can look up their zip codes to see if service is offered in their areas. Customers who have service through other providers can easily switch to Safelink Wireless while keeping their current phone numbers. While Safelink does not provide smartphones, customers can opt to hook up their own smartphones to the service if they already have one.


  • Does not offer smartphones.
  • Data connections are limited.
  • Phone and plans depend on geographical location.

Assurance Wireless

Assurance Wireless is a government assisted phone program in the Lifeline network. Assurance Wireless partners with Virgin Mobile, which uses the Sprint network. This coverage could effect phone service depending on where in the country customers are located. Assurance Wireless is only available in certain states, and interested customers can look up their zip codes to see if service is offered in their areas. Qualified customers receive a free smartphone, 350 voice minutes, unlimited texts, and 500MB of free data each month. Customers can also keep their current numbers is switching, and can take advantage of free voicemail, call waiting, and caller ID. Additional voice minutes, data, international calling and international texting are available for an additional fee.


  • Uses the Sprint network.
  • Phone and plans depend on geographical location.
  • Smartphones are provided.

ReachOut Wireless

ReachOut Wireless provides free cell phones and service through the Lifeline phone program in certain states in the U.S. The basic plan includes a free cell phone and 250 minutes a month. The number of minutes provided depends on geography and which free cell phone plan is chosen by qualified customers. Upgrades can be added through low-priced packages, ranging from $3 for 20 extra minutes to $50 for 1,000 extra minutes in a month. Prices for these features are easy to find on the website.


  • The basic plan is 250 minutes per month.
  • Unlimited talk and text for only $26.50 a month.
  • Phone and plans depend on geographical location.