Lifeline Phone Program: What it is and How to Apply

Lifeline is a federal program that provides a monthly discount on wireless phone and internet services for eligible low-income households. The goal of the program is to help make essential services more affordable, so that everyone can stay connected to their friends, family, and the world around them.

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Young hispanic woman smiling and happy while talking on a smartphone
Young hispanic woman smiling and happy while talking on a smartphone

What's the Lifeline Program?

Since 1985, the Lifeline Assistance Program has provided a discount on phone service to low-income Americans. The program is administered by the by the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) and overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It was founded to ensure to ensure that all Americans, regardless of income, have access to the security and opportunity that a phone service offers. This includes being able to look for jobs, access emergency services, go to school, and much more.

Qualifying individuals are eligible to receive one Lifeline benefit per household. TruConnect provides free phone service, including unlimited talk, text, international calling to select countries, and up to 14GB of data to qualifying customers in 37 states.

In a state where TruConnect doesn't offer Lifeline service? No problem! You can still apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to get FREE wireless service, a free device or discounted smartphone, and a tablet for only $10.01^.

How to Qualify for the Lifeline Benefit

You can qualify for a discounted device or phone with wireless service from TruConnect if your total household income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or through qualifying government programs. See the list below for program-based eligibility and details on household income requirements.

African American male senior in chair laughing and talking on phone
African American male senior in chair laughing and talking on phone
Lifeline Program-Based Eligibility Logos
Lifeline Program-Based Eligibility Logos

 

Program-Based Eligibility

Your household is eligible for the Lifeline benefit, if you or someone in your household participates in the following programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps/Food Assistance)

  • Medicaid / Medi-Cal

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) or Section 8

  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit

Tribal Household Eligibility

If your household is on qualifying federally recognized Tribal land, here are the programs you can participate in to be eligible for Lifeline, in addition to any of the programs listed above. 

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Head Start (only if you qualified for this program based on income)
  • Tribal TANF (Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)


You may need to show proof of participation, such as a benefit letter or other official document when you apply for Lifeline.

Household Income Qualification

You can qualify for Lifeline, if your household income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Eligibility is based on the size of your household and where it is located. The table below reflects 135% of the 2022 Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Household Size 48 States, D.C., and Territories Alaska Hawaii
1 $19,683 $24,584 $22,640
2

$26,622

$33,264 $30,618
3 $33,561 $41,945 $38,597
4 $40,500 $50,625 $46,575
5 $47,439 $59,306 $54,554
6 $54,378 $67,986 $62,532
7 $61,317 $76,667 $70,511
8 $68,256 $85,347 $78,489
For each additional person, add: $6,939 $8,681 $7,979

Note: California and Texas have additional state Lifeline subsidies that offer the benefit to households with 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines when using the income-qualification method.

What are the benefits of Lifeline?

Lifeline keeps you connected to what matters most, while saving you hundreds per year on your wireless cell phone bill.

TruConnect's Lifeline Plan Connects You To

Job hunting

Job hunting online is key for low-income households to maintain solvency and increase earning potential. Many jobs require online applications and the best way to look for jobs is online through services like Google, Craigslist, LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, Taskrabbit, and more. 

Emergency services

The police, ambulance, and fire department all require a working phone to access. Having the ability to place a phone call can save lives. 

Telehealth

A phone is essential for accessing healthcare and is especially important if a household member has health issues. With the advances in telehealth, a phones with internet offers access to lower-cost, high-quality, healthcare.

Friends and family

Being able to contact our friends and family is essential for quality of life and mental health. Access to a smartphone with internet is critical for our elderly populations and those who are homebound. 

 ^ Device discount available to eligible customers only. There is a minimum copayment of $10.01, while the maximum copayment is $50.