Living in Maryland and struggling to pay for a phone? You might be eligible for a free government phone! Many low-income households in Maryland can qualify for a free phone and free monthly minutes through the Lifeline Assistance Program. In this article, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to know about getting a free government phone in Maryland, including the eligibility requirements and how to apply. Let’s get started!
Is it Possible to Get Free Government Phones in Maryland? How?
Good news – it is possible to get a free government phone in Maryland! The Lifeline Assistance Program, which is a government-funded program, provides eligible low-income individuals with free or heavily subsidized mobile phone service and devices. The program aims to help those who struggle to afford phone service stay connected with their loved ones, employers, and emergency services. Maryland residents who participate in certain government assistance programs or have a low income are eligible for a free government phone and service.
In addition to the numerous Lifeline providers that offer free government phones in Maryland, there are also some other ways to get free phones in Maryland, including from non-profit organizations, charities, online offers and giveaways, and carrier and retailer promotional offers.
What is the Process of Getting Free Government Phones in Maryland
To receive a free government phone and service in Maryland, you must follow these simple yet strict steps:
- The first step to obtaining a Lifeline free phone is to check if you meet the qualifications for the program, which involves coming from a low-income household or participating in a qualifying government assistance program. You can find the specific details in the next section.
- Additionally, you need to provide proof documentation to prove your eligibility, which can be found on the list of acceptable documents below.
- Once you have determined your eligibility, you can apply for the program and a Lifeline free phone.
- After applying, you must wait for approval, and if your application is approved, you can look for a suitable Lifeline free phone provider in Maryland. You can see a list of some of the best Lifeline providers in Maryland below.
How to Qualify for Free Government Phones in Maryland
If you want to obtain a free Lifeline phone, you must be eligible for the Lifeline government assistance program. In order to qualify, you or another member of your household must meet certain criteria.
- First of all, the applicant must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor.
- Secondly, you must be the only applicant in your household (exceptions apply).
- Finally, you must either meet the FCC’s income-based requirement or the program participation-based requirement:
- You qualify if your annual household income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The guidelines depend on the state and household size. In Maryland, a household size of 1 person must have an annual income at or below $19,683, a household of 2 an income of $26,622, a household of 3 $33,561, a household of 4 $40,500, a household of five $47,439, a household of 6 $54,378, a household of 7 $61,317, a household of 8 members $68,256, and after that, you can add $6,939 for each additional person.
- You also qualify if you or another household member participate in a qualifying government assistance program, such as:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard)
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
How to Prove My Eligibility for Free Government Phones in Maryland
If you sign up for the Lifeline program, the USAC will need to confirm your identity, address, eligibility, and other information. If they can’t do so, you may be asked to provide proof of the following:
- Household income: If you qualify based on your annual household income, you may have to show proof of income, which is an official document that shows your first and last name, annual income, or pay for the last three months. Examples include tax returns, income statements, three consecutive pay stubs, and benefit letters.
- Program participation: If you qualify based on your participation in a qualifying program, you may need to provide an official document that shows your first and last name, the program name, and the issuing establishment’s name and date. Examples include benefit award letters, approval letters, and benefit verification letters.
- Identity and age: You may need to provide an official document that shows your first and last name and date of birth to prove your identity and age. Examples include IDs, birth certificates, and passports.
- Address: You may need to provide an official document that shows your first and last name and current physical address to verify your address. Examples include utility bills, IDs, and tax returns.
- Life: To show that you’re alive, you may need to provide an official document that shows your first and last name and recent life activity, such as a utility bill or pay stub.
- Emancipation status: If you’re under 18, you must be an emancipated minor to apply. You may need to provide an official document that confirms your first and last name and emancipation status.
- Social Security number or Tribal ID number: You may need to provide an official document that shows your first and last name and the last four digits of your social security number or full Tribal ID. Examples include Social Security cards, tax returns, and IDs.
If proof documentation is necessary, you’ll be required to submit it during the application process, or the USAC will contact you after you submit your application. Make sure to only submit clear copies and never originals!
How to Apply for Free Government Phones in Maryland
First, you must apply for Lifeline on a national level – through the National Verifier. You can do so online or via mail (which takes longer).
You can apply online by visiting the FCC’s website at nv.fcc.gov/lifeline, selecting your state or territory, filling out the online application form by providing all the required information and digital documentation copies, and submitting it.
To apply via mail, you can print out an application form from the Lifeline Support website at lifelinesupport.org/wp-content/uploads/documents/get-lifeline/LI_Application_NVstates.pdf, complete it, attach copies of the required proof documentation, and mail it to the Lifeline Support Center at P.O. Box 9100, Wilkes-Barre, PA 1877.
Once the National Verifier approves your application, you can apply through your selected Lifeline provider. If you live in Maryland, you can only choose from providers that operate in that state. The best Lifeline free phone providers in Maryland are listed below. However, you can find a full list of all the Lifeline companies available in your area at cnm.universalservice.org. Simply enter your location, choose the Lifeline program, and press Search. The program will generate a list of all available companies in your area.
In order to apply for the most generous plans and to receive the best phone and the largest amount of monthly talk minutes and data, make sure to also apply for the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which offers additional discounts on monthly internet services and devices. Fortunately, all Lifeline customers automatically qualify for ACP. See how to apply at affordableconnectivity.gov/how-to-apply.
The Best Free Government Phone Providers in Maryland
Here are some of the best Lifeline companies in Maryland that offer the most generous benefits.
Access Wireless is a Lifeline and ACP provider that offers free government phones (smartphones) and plans that offer limited or unlimited talk, text, and data. The exact amount of included talk minutes and data depends on the plan (the most generous plan is the one that offers both Lifeline and ACP discounts).
To apply, go to accesswireless.com, enter your ZIP code, select the plan, and when redirected to the application form, fill it out by providing all the required information and documentation.
At AirTalk, you can choose which smartphone you wish to receive. You will be able to choose from a variety of high-quality Android smartphones and iPhones. If you apply for the Lifeline & ACP Combo plan, you can also get monthly services with unlimited talk, text, and data, as well as a discounted tablet.
To enroll, visit airtalkwireless.com, press Apply, enter your ZIP code, select the plan, and complete the application form.
At Assurance, you can get a free plan with unlimited talk, unlimited text, up to 25GB of high-speed data, 2.5GB of mobile hotspot data, and a free smartphone.
To apply, visit assurancewireless.com, enter your ZIP code, and follow the on-screen prompts.
Cintex Wireless also offers generous plans with free talk minutes, text messages, and high-speed data. Additionally, the company allows you to select the phone you wish to receive for free and you can choose from a variety of great Android smartphones and iPhones.
To apply, visit cintexwireless.com, press Apply, and follow the on-screen prompts.
Easy is another generous Lifeline and ACP company that offers free unlimited talk and text, free monthly data and hotspot, and a free smartphone of the company’s own choosing.
Enrol by visiting myeasywireless.com, entering your email and ZIP code, and pressing Enroll Now. Follow the prompts to complete the application.
enTouch provided by Boomerang Wireless offers eligible customers free monthly plans with limited or unlimited talk, text, and data, as well as free smartphones.
You can start your application process by visiting entouchwireless.com, pressing Enroll Today, choosing Maryland as your state, and following the prompts.
Maryland customers can apply for a Lifeline plan or a Lifeline & ACP combo plan. Depending on the plan, they can receive a certain amount of free monthly minutes, texts, and data, as well as a free smartphone.
Apply at infinitimobile.com by following the on-screen prompts.
If you wish to receive free unlimited talk, text, and data, 5GB of hotspot, and a free smartphone from Life, you can do so by visiting lifewireless.com and following the on-screen prompts.
Q Link Wireless
In many areas, Q Link offers free tablets instead of free phones. If you’re OK with that, you should pursue this option. Moreover, customers can get free monthly talk, text, and data.
To apply, go to qlinkwireless.com and follow the prompts.
At SafeLink, you can get a free smartphone and unlimited talk, text, and data.
To apply, visit safelinkwireless.com, enter your ZIP code, and press Start. Then, follow the prompts.
StandUp is a generous company that offers unlimited monthly talk and text, up to 10GB of high-speed data, a free smartphone, and discounted tablets.
Begin your application by visiting standupwireless.com, entering your details, and following the prompts.
TruConnect also provides both free smartphones and free monthly plans with limited or unlimited amounts of talk, text, and data.
You can apply by entering your details at truconnect.com and following the prompts.