Lifeline: Affordable Cell Phones and Minutes for Income-Eligible Consumers

The economic downturn has made it harder for many families to pay monthly utility bills. The Lifeline program aims to ease some of these burdens by providing low-income Americans or those already on government assistance with a free cell phone and 250 free minutes to be able to connect to jobs, family, and 911 services. As the economy continues to go through turmoil, more people are becoming eligible for Lifeline, which  helps ensure that they have both the opportunities and security that telephone service provides.

You can qualify if you have a household income that is at or below 135% of the federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in one of the federal assistance programs (see list of eligible programs under Eligibility section below). In California, there are two providers that are currently providing this service: Virgin Wireless and ReachOut Mobile services. Get more information by calling 2-1-1 or going through company websites: &

Are you eligible for a free cell phone and minutes?
There are two ways to determine if you are eligible for Lifeline.

OPTION 1 - Clients may qualify if they receive one of the following types of aid:
* Medicaid/Medi-Cal
* Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
* Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
*CalFresh, Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
*Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
*Healthy Families Category A
*National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
*Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
*California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
*Stanislaus County Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (StanWORKs)
*Welfare-to-Work (WTW)
*Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN)
* Tribal TANF
*Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
*Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal Only)
*Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

OPTION 2 - Household Size Annual Income Limits
• 1-2 people $0 - $24,700
• 3 people $0 - $28,800
• 4 people $0 - $34,800 (add $6000 for any additional members over 4)

Languages: Interpreter service available
Application Process: Callers can access this program online at or, or call toll free telephone numbers
Program Fees: Free
Documents Required: Proof of income must be provided either by fax or online