Can I get a free iPhone/phone from Government in the United States of America

Yes, you can get iPhone from Government in the United States of America. It might sound like if that’s reality or not.

That is reality, however, only for some.

So, please note that not everyone will get a free iPhone or even some simple phone. Robust criteria must be fulfilled to qualify for the iPhone/phone. Generally, free phones are given to people with low income or people living in remote areas where Government wants to encourage digital or broadband activities. So, there are different programs by Federal Government where you can qualify for a discounted/free phone.

Let’s first understand why Government introduces such programs to distribute the phones.

Why Government introduces phone program

Following are some of the reasons why the Government launches free phone programs.

  • To ensure everyone has access to communication services.
  • To bridge the communication gap between people.

However, it’s different for everyone who can get the phone; specific criteria must be filled in. Most of the time, programs are designed to facilitate the following.

  1. Low-income families/individuals may need help to afford mobile/digital communication. So, the Government introduced its program to facilitate such underprivileged people.
  2. Families/individuals resident in remote locations where there is a need to encourage the use of digital services. By providing free phones in these areas, the Government intends to encourage broadband use. So, these remote residents have equal access to jobs and other opportunities in the country.

Given are the main reasons why Government introduces such programs to distribute free phones to the public. Eligibility and requirements differ from state to state. However, the following are general criteria for the programs that target low-income families.


 The following is a general criteria. Exact details may vary from state.

  1. You must be a citizen/legal resident of the United States of America.
  2. You should have a valid email address, phone number, and delivery address for shipping.
  3. You must pass a background assessment. For instance, if you apply as a low-income individual. Your income levels are checked, and you must also participate in a survey about your experience with the free phone program. Generally, your income should be at or below 135% of the federal poverty guideline.

So, it’s important to note that your income must be lower than the threshold set in the qualification criteria. And it’s equally important to note that most of the applications are declined due to higher income than the threshold. So, there is a need to ensure the applicant’s income is less than the poverty line, or it’s for sure that your application will not be successful.  

Further, to qualify for free/discounted phones, you must register for the assistance programs discussed below.

1-National Lifeline Assistance

It’s a not-for-profit organization with a vision to help low-income-earning households in the United States. Specific criteria need to be fulfilled to get assistance from the national lifeline.

Qualification criteria

The National Lifeline Association program qualification can be in the following two ways.

  1. Your income level is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  2. You are currently enrolled in any of the following government assistance programs.
Supplementary Security Income
Supplementary Nutrition Assistance program – Food stamps
Federal Public Housing Association
Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), Head Start.
Tribal-specific programs – Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF).Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance  

(Above given link contains specific criteria and other requirements to qualify for the National life assurance program).

2- Connect America funds

It’s a federal program of the United States Government. This program was designed to expand broadband services within the country. So, it targets residents of the following areas.

  1. Rural areas.
  2. Insular areas
  3. High-coast areas.

This assistance aims to ensure that residents of these areas have adequate access to digital services and broadband. This program is also called Universal Services for High-Coast AreasUSHCA.

(The current funds status for the Connect America funds can be seen on – Funds Release)

3- Affordable connectivity program

This program is designed to help households in affording internet and broadband services. It provides benefits like,

  1. $30/month for the internet services.
  2. $75/month for the households located in Tribal lands.
  3. $100 for the purchase of the desktop, tablet, and computer.

Please note this program is designed to enhance connectivity. Hence, it provides regular assistance if you remain eligible for the program. (Source – Affordable connectivity program)

(AT&T has partnered with Federal Government to facilitate in connectivity program – AT&T and Government partnership).

Also read, What’s section-8 voucher & how it works?

Wrap up

Free/discounted phones/iPhones can be obtained from Government in the United States of America. However, there are a decisive criteria that needs to be fulfilled. For instance, your income must be below a certain threshold if you apply under a low-scheme program.

On the other hand, if you are applying for the program supporting ruler areas, you should not be a resident of urban areas.

The leading digital assistance programs include National lifeline assistance, connect America Funds and the Affordable Connectivity program.

Frequently asked questions

Where to start if I want to get a free iPhone?

Go through the following steps.

  1. Check your eligibility regarding income and other aspects required for the qualification.
  2. Find out the program offering free iPhone/phone.
  3. Follow the instructions and requirements of the program and religiously follow all aspects of the qualification.

Which program is considered the best one for application?

National Assistance Program is the best and most straightforward. This program is designed to assist low-income families (in terms of buying mobile phones).

What are the basic requirements to qualify for the free Government phone programs?

Following are the basic requirements to qualify for the free Government phone programs.

  1. Proof of income should meet the low-income threshold per the program’s requirements.
  2. Proof of residence– This should be for the tribal location per the program’s requirement.
  3. Proof of citizenship – You must be a citizen of the USA.

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