Government phones have been around for a while now. However, they became more popular during the Covid-19 era. While a considerable number of people lived below the poverty level in Washington State, a lot more were forced into this bracket during the pandemic.
Many lost their jobs, while others were forced to shut down their business due to economic turmoil. This made it hard for them to pay their phone bills or afford a decent device.
However, residents can get financial help through the Lifeline or Washington Telephone Assistance Program. This program is jointly funded by the Federal Government, the State of Washington, and telecommunication companies.
If you want to know how to get a free government phone in Washington State through this program, continue reading this post.
Can Anyone Get a Free Government Phone in Washington State
The Washington State Telephone Assistance Program and Lifeline are only meant to benefit the financially disadvantaged within the state. Examples include senior citizens and people living with disabilities.
For that reason, these programs have specific eligibility requirements that anyone applying for a free government phone in Washington State has to meet before they can benefit. These requirements help weed out people who want to take advantage of the program to receive free benefits when they can pay for them.
The first requirement is that your income is lower than 135% of the prevailing Federal Poverty Level. Income guidelines usually vary, so the ones for the State of Washington may not be the same as those for the State of New York or any other state.
Secondly, you can get a free government phone through any of the programs mentioned above if you receive assistance from one of the following state or Federal programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance(FPHA)
- Supplemental Security Income(SSI)
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Tribal Assistance Programs, e.g., Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Seniors receiving DSHS Chore Services can also be eligible.
Best Places to Get a Free Government Phone in Washington State
A couple of companies can offer you a free government phone in Washington State. This section lists them all and what they have to offer besides free phones.
1. Assurance Wireless
Assurance Wireless is one of the leading brands when it comes to the provision of free government phones in the State of Washington. This company has been offering financially challenged individuals free phones since 2010.
Their service comes with different plans and benefits depending on which assistance program you’re signed up for. If you’re a member of the Lifeline program, you can get free 4.5GB of data, unlimited texts, and 1000 minutes monthly.
However, if you decide to go for the Lifeline and ACP program combination, you will get the following for free:
- An android phone
- Unlimited texts
- Unlimited data
- Unlimited minutes
The type of Android phone you will be offered will depend on its availability. Additionally, Assurance Wireless has a data prioritization feature that will slow down your internet speeds when there is too much traffic on the network.
2. enTouch Wireless
enTouch Wireless provides premium Android phones to customers who cannot afford one for free. To be eligible for a free government phone from enTouch Wireless, you should be enrolled in SNAP, Medicaid, or Supplemental Security Income.
Customers may also be eligible for assistance if their household income doesn’t surpass the Federal Poverty Threshold. The enTouch Wireless Lifeline and ACP plan will give you access to the following:
- Free premium Android phones from top brands
- 100% free Unlimited texts
- 100% free unlimited minutes
- 10GB of high-speed data
enTouch Wireless free plans do not tie you down to any contracts, nor do they have any hidden costs. Furthermore, their free plan includes free international calling, call waiting, caller ID, voicemail, and free 411 calls.
If you want to know if you qualify for their Lifeline plan, you can go to the enTouch website and start the enrollment procedure. The customer support team is very helpful if you have questions about the enTouch Wireless free phone or service. To contact them, call 1-206-464-6684.
TruConnect has been keeping people from low-income households connected since 2008. They offer Lifeline and ACP services to customers who meet the qualification guidelines for these programs. All you need to do is enter your Zip Code and Email on the application page, and you can start enjoying the benefits that come with their free plan. Some of the benefits include:
- A new Android smartphone
- Unlimited minutes
- 14GB of monthly data
- Unlimited text
- Free International calling
If TruConnect approves your application, you will be sent a free government phone and SIM card. You can start enjoying free service using the instructions provided once you fully activate it. One downside is that you will be required to use your free service at least once every month to prevent it from being disconnected.
The other limitation of the TruConnect free service is that you have to renew it annually, and only one household member can benefit from it.
4. QLink Wireless
QLink Wireless focuses on distributing free government phones to residents of Washington State who meet the prerequisite criteria. This includes low-income people, veterans, retirees, and students. QLink has a Free Always On Plan under their Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program. This plan has the following features:
- Unlimited data
- Voicemail feature
- Emergency calls to 911
- Unlimited texts and minutes
- Unlimited Picture Messaging
- 3-Way calling
QLink also has a ‘Bring Your Own Phone’ program that lets you keep your current phone and number. If you need a new number, Qlink will send you a free SIM card which you can use to access their free phone service.
With QLink Wireless, you will enjoy a 4G LTE/5G network despite where you’re since they have one of the best network coverage in the state. However, if you face any challenges using their network, you can reach them at 1-855-754-6543 on Monday to Friday from 8 AM-12 AM EST and on Saturday to Sunday from 8 AM-8 PM EST.
5. Life Wireless
Life Wireless provides telecommunication assistance to people from the low-income bracket living in Washington. Consumers who meet the standard set prerequisite criteria for the Lifeline program can receive phone services from Life Wireless for free.
Others may even qualify for a free government phone if they receive government subsidies or their income is not more than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. What are the benefits of the Life Wireless Lifeline?
- Free unlimited calling nationwide
- Unlimited data that is 100% free
- Free unlimited text messaging
- Long-distance calls for free
- 5GB Hotspot data
All of Life Wireless calling services contain features such as caller ID, 3-way calling, free 911 service, call waiting, and voicemail feature. You can direct any complaints regarding the Life Wireless Lifeline services to the Washington State Office Of The Attorney General by calling 1-800-551-4636 or sending a mail to 800 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA 98104-3188.
6. SafeLink Wireless
SafeLink Wireless is a service provider offering the Lifeline and ACP programs to eligible customers in Washington. Eligibility depends on your income level or participation in a government assistance program such as Federal Public Housing Assistance, SNAP, and Medicaid. The following are some of the perks you can get from joining SafeLink Wireless:
- A free smartphone
- Free unlimited calls and texts to Canada and Mexico
- 25GB of high-speed data
- 5GB of hotspot data
To start your application, visit the SafeLink website and enter your email address and ZIP code. It usually takes 5-10 business days for SafeLink Wireless to send you a free government phone after your application is reviewed and accepted. However, if you don’t receive it within this time, you can ask for help from the Customer Support team at 1-800-723-3546.
7. Access Wireless
Access Wireless is one of Washington’s most reliable telecommunication companies providing free government phones. They can do this by participating in the Federal Lifeline program. As a result, several residents are able to access phone services. Aside from a free smartphone, you will also get:
- Free unlimited minutes
- Unlimited data
- Free unlimited text
- International calling
- Free long-distance calling
If your free minutes run out, you can refill them using Access Prepaid cards found in select stores such as Family Dollar, Kroger, and Speedway. There are three cards available; one that costs $10, $25, and $35.
You can also bring your own phone as long as it is compatible with Access Wireless. Before applying for a free government phone from Access Wireless, visit the National Verifier portal to see if you are eligible.
If you don’t get a free phone from any of the service providers mentioned above, you can try applying for discounted cell phone services from any of the companies mentioned below that are available in Washington:
CenturyLink is a wireless service provider that offers assistance to low-income consumers in Washington State through two programs:
- Affordable Connectivity Programs: This program offers a $30 monthly discount to help eligible residents of Washington residents pay for their internet service bills. Individuals residing in Tribal lands can get a discount as high as $75 for the same purpose.
- Lifeline Assistance Program: CenturyLink offers the standard Lifeline program, which gives consumers as much as $9.25 monthly discounts for settling their internet bills and $5.25 for purchasing phone services, e.g., minutes and texts. You cannot apply for a Lifeline discount from CenturyLink to help you simultaneously pay your internet bills and phone services. The discount can only help to pay for one of them.
2. Inland Cellular
Like the previous company, Inland Cellular offers qualifying Washington residents a monthly discount of $ 5.25-$ 9.25. Luckily, you can apply this discount to Inland Cellular’s plans. You need a Washington Department of Social and Health Services Case number to qualify for this discount.
Alternatively, your income should not be more than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or you take part in assistance programs the Federal Government offers. Unfortunately, Inland Cellular can only provide one discount to every household.
How to Apply for a Free Government Phone in Washington State
Applying for a free government phone in Washington State is very simple if you meet all the eligibility criteria. Follow the steps outlined below:
- Step 1: Search for all service providers offering free government phones in Washington.
- Step 2: Visit the website of the provider you have chosen.
- Step 3: Download an application form from their website and fill it out accurately. You can also decide to fill out the forms online if you don’t want the hassle of sending the application through the mail.
- Step 4: Attach all the copies of relevant documents that show you’re eligible for a free phone and submit them together with your application.
- Step 5: The service provider you’ve chosen will scrutinize your application and give you a reply.
- Step 6: If your application gets approved, you will be informed, and the process of sending you your phone will be initiated. Your free phone should take 5-7 business days to get to you.
Hopefully, this article has elaborated on how you can get a free government phone in Washington State. Luckily, there are several service providers that you can apply from in Washington. You can look at each of them and what they offer and pick the right one.
However, if you cannot get a free government phone from any of them, you can opt for discounted cell phone services which will still enable you to save on the costs. You should visit the site of each of the companies mentioned above before making a decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can get a free government phone by enrolling in the Lifeline program. To qualify for the Lifeline, you need to have a low income or participate in a government assistance program.
Several service providers offer free government phones in Washington, including Safelink Wireless, Access Wireless, TruConnect, QLink Wireless, Assurance Wireless, and QLink Wireless.
Most of the service providers mentioned in this article do not charge you any fees for signing up with them. They will also not tie you down to any contract.
SafeLink Wireless provides different Android devices, but you will mainly get phones from Nokia, Motorola, Kyocera, and LG.