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How to Get Free 5G Government Phones

5G phones provide blistering download and upload speeds. They make it easier for you to stream videos and play games online. Even though widely available, 5G phones can be expensive to acquire.

If you’re from a low-income family, you can apply for a free 5G phone from the government. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established Lifeline Assistance to provide free 5G government phones.

The government partners with various Lifeline Assistance providers to provide devices to those needing them. This article discusses the eligibility criteria for a free 5G government phone and what you should do to get one.

Why Does the Government Offer Free 5G Phones

The government offers free 5G phones to help low-income families meet their communication needs. So, you can use your phone to stay in touch with your family and friends.

Besides realizing the need to work and learn online, these devices make it possible for you to connect to the internet. Some Lifeline providers even offer hotspot data, which you can share with everyone in your household.

The phones come from various manufacturers and are available from several Lifeline providers. You can apply for a free 5G government phone from a provider of your choice.

Who Qualifies for a Free 5G Government Phones

You must qualify for a free 5G government phone to get one. The eligibility requirements include having an income below a given threshold and participation in a government assistance program. Here are several ways to get a free 5G phone from the government:

1. Income-Based Requirements

Under Lifeline Assistance, you can get a free 5G phone if you have an income of up to 135% of the current Federal Poverty Guidelines. It’s essential always to keep abreast of any changes the government may make to the guidelines.

Here are the current poverty guidelines for various states and territories in the U.S.A:

2022 Poverty Guidelines for 48 States and the District of Columbia

No. of persons in a family or householdPoverty guideline
1$13,590
2$18,310
3$23,030
4$27,750
5$32,470
6$37,190
7$41,910
8$46,630

If you’re the only person in your household, you can get a free 5G phone if your income is up to $18,346.50. For every additional household member, the income threshold increases by $6,282. So, having many people in a household makes qualifying for a 5G phone easier.

2022 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska

No. of persons in a family or householdPoverty guideline
1$16,990
2$22,890
3$28,790
4$34,690
5$40,590
6$46,490
7$52,390
8$58,290

Residents of Alaska have different poverty guidelines. For them, a single-household needs an income of up to $22,936.50 to get a free 5G phone. If you’re from a three-member household, you would need an additional income of $7,965. That makes it easier for you to qualify for a free phone.

2022 Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii

No. of persons in a family or householdPoverty guideline
1$15,630
2$21,060
3$26,490
4$31,920
5$37,350
6$42,780
7$48,210
8$53,640

In Hawaii, residents in single-member households can get free 5G government phones with an income of up to $21,100.50. For a two-member family, the income level is up to $24,431. That means that each additional household member triggers a $7,330.50 to the income limit.

2. Government Assistance Beneficiary

Federal and state governments have several programs designed to meet the needs of low-income families. These programs may affect individual members of the household or entire households. The following are some of the government assistance programs that can help you get a free 5G government phone:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit

3. Federal Lands Assistance Beneficiaries

If you live on Tribal Lands, you can get a free 5G government phone if you benefit from specific programs. Here are some of the programs through which you can qualify for a free phone:

  • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Tribal Head Start
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance

How to Apply for Free 5G Government Phones

Free 5G Government Phones

The FCC partners with various service providers to offer free 5G phones to people across the United States. To qualify for a free phone, you must apply through your favorite provider. Here are the steps you must undertake to complete the application process:

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Before applying for a free phone via Lifeline Assistance, you should check if you’re eligible. You need a household income of up to 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Also, you or one of your family members must be a beneficiary of a government assistance program.

The National Verifier, operated by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), is the best place to check your suitability for the program. You must enter the required information before clicking Search.

Step 2: Fill Out an Application Form

After ascertaining that you qualify for Lifeline Assistance, you should go on and fill out an application form. The forms are accessible on your network carrier’s website. Each document may require you to fill in specific details. Be sure to provide all the necessary information.

Alternatively, you may print the application form, fill it out, and submit it via mail. If your provider’s store is nearby, you can walk in and fill out a physical form. Of course, you would have to submit it to the store attendants.

Step 3: Attach Relevant Documents

Your free 5G government phone application is not complete without documents proving your identity, address, and Lifeline Assistance eligibility. Even though copies, the documents should be authentic and unexpired. Here are some of the documents to attach to your application:

Proof-Of-Identification Documents

You must provide acceptable documents to prove your identity. For the sake of applying for Lifeline Assistance, the following are the proper documents:

  • Driver’s License
  • U.S. Passport
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Birth Certificate
  • U.S Government, State, Military, or Tribal-Issued ID
  • Foreign Passport
  • Social Security Number

Proof-of-Address Documents

It’s also necessary to provide documents proving your address. Your network carrier may use the address for correspondence with you. Proof of address documents should have the details on the application phone. The following are some of the necessary proof-of-address documents:

  • Driver’s License
  • Current Utility Bill
  • Current Income Statement, W2, or Paycheck Stub
  • Current Lease or Mortgage Statement
  • Federal, State, or Tribal-Issued ID

Proof-of-Low-Income Documents

Do you qualify for a free 5G phone due to a low income? It’s not enough to declare so in your application. The following are some of the documents you might have to provide to prove your income:

  • Social security statement of benefit
  • The previous year’s tribal, state, or federal tax returns
  • Worker’s compensation statement of benefits
  • Current employer’s income statement or paycheck stub
  • Divorce decree or child support documents
  • Veterans Administration statement of benefits

Proof of Benefit from Government Assistance

If you or any of your family members participate in a government assistance program, it’s necessary to provide documents proving the same. Here is a list of documents you must attach to your application for a free 5G government phone:

  • A statement for the previous or current year for an eligible Tribal, federal, or state
  • Letter of participation in a Tribal, federal, or state program
  • Documents providing evidence of the involvement in a federal, state, or Tribal program
  • Any other document showing your name, program name, and the issuing Tribal, federal, or state

Emancipated minors should provide the relevant court documents or certificate of emancipation. Attach photos of your documents to online applications and photocopies to mail-in or in-store applications.

Step 4: Wait to Receive Your Phone in the Mail

If your application gets approved, you might have to wait for 7 to 10 days to receive a 5G phone. While the providers stock different free 5G government phones, they might give you any available device. That means you have no say in the phone you get. However, some providers are flexible enough to allow you to choose a phone.

The 5 Best Providers of Free 5G Government Phones

The number of network carriers providing 5G government phones differs based on your state. Therefore, you must check with the state authorities to know the local Lifeline Assistance providers. However, some network carriers are available nationwide.

The following are some of the network carriers offering free 5G phones to qualifying individuals:

1. T-Mobile

T-Mobiles is a nationwide national carrier offering free 5G phones. The T-Mobile deal allowing you to get a 5G phone is straightforward. By trading in a functioning mobile phone, you can get the OnePlus Nord N200 5G or the Revv V+ 5G. If you trade in a phone and sign up for Magenta-Plus unlimited plan, you can get the iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21.

2. AT&T

AT&T offers the Samsung Galaxy S21 or iPhone12 Mini to those trading in an older mobile phone. However, a catch involves you signing up for unlimited data. If your trade-in phone is much older, AT&T may offer you a new 5G phone at a subsidized price.

With AT&T, you get a free 5G phone if you have an iPhone 8 or a newer model. If your phone is much older, you’ll get a discount of $350 for your new 5G phone. You need a Galaxy S9 or a more recent model for a Samsung trade-in.

3. Verizon

Verizon is one of the primary Lifeline Assistance providers. However, it doesn’t offer free 5G phones. Instead, you can get a free 5G phone by trading in an older device model. Available 5G phones include the Samsung Galaxy S21, Samsung Galaxy Note 20, or iPhone 12.

Essentially, you get the equivalent of $700 off an iPhone or $800 off an Android phone. Alternatively, you can get the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE by activating the unlimited data plan on a new line. Remember, the Verizon unlimited plan costs $70 to $80 monthly.

4. Cintex Wireless

Cintex Wireless is a Lifeline Assistance provider that offers free 5G government phones to qualifying individuals. The deal comes with free unlimited talk, text, and data. Cintex Wireless provides various phone models, including Samsung Galaxy S7, iPhone 6s, etc.

5. SafeLink Wireless

SafeLink Wireless also participates in Lifeline Assistance, offering eligible individuals free 5G government phones. If you qualify for a device, don’t hesitate to submit your application to SafeLink Wireless. For example, you could get the Nokia 8.3 5G or the OnePlus 8 5G.

Free 5G Government Phones

Lifeline Assistance providers offer several 5G phone models to qualifying individuals. Notable phone brands include Apple, Samsung, OnePlus, Google, Motorola, and TCL. Here are the types of free 5G government phones you can get:

Phone ManufacturerPhone Model
AppleApple iPhone 12, Apple iPhone 12 Mini, Apple iPhone 13 Mini, and Apple iPhone 13 Pro, Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
OnePlusOnePlus Nord 200 5GOnePlus 9 Pro
SamsungSamsung Galaxy A32, Samsung Galaxy A52, Samsung Galaxy S21
GoogleGoogle Pixel 6 Pro
MotorolaMotorola G Stylus 5G
TCLTCL Revv 5G

The Bottom Line

If you’re wondering how to get free 5G government phones, this article has provided all the others. Besides an elaborate eligibility criterion, the article has also discussed the application process. You only need to have a low-income status or benefit from a government assistance program.

Several Lifeline Assistance providers are offering free 5G phones. So, be careful when picking the best one for you. If your application gets approved, you’ll get one of the available 5G phones.

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People Also Ask

What other benefits do I get besides a free 5G government phone?

Anyone qualifying for a free 5G government phone gets more than just the device. First, they benefit from high data speed on the 5G network. Second, they can keep in touch with their family, friends, and workmates. Additionally, Lifeline Assistance providers have benefits such as subsidized or free phone services.

Can I upgrade a 4G phone to 5G?

Technically, 4G phones work perfectly well on the 5G network. However, they do not provide high-speed 5G internet. Therefore, you need a dedicated 5G device to get the best internet speeds, latency, and bandwidth results.

Can I get a free 5G government phone to replace a 4G device?

Yes. You can get a free 5G government phone instead of a 4G device. Lifeline Assistance providers like AT&T and Verizon offer free 5G government phones in exchange for older 4G devices. All you have to do is contact your network provider.