Telecommunications services have recently become almost as essential as having a roof over our heads, food on our tables, and secure medical services. Indeed, having a phone, especially a smartphone, enables us to search for employment, stay in touch with colleagues, socialize with loved ones, contact healthcare and emergency services, and much more. In case you participate in the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program, you may be unable to afford an iPhone – after all, iPhones are for both their top quality and high prices. However, what if we told you that you might be eligible for a free iPhone with EBT? That’s indeed a possibility and in this article, we’ll uncover your options!
Getting a Free iPhone With EBT? How Does That Even Work?
The Food Stamp Program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provides assistance to low-income households with an EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card for purchasing eligible food. While SNAP itself cannot be used to buy non-food items like iPhones, participation in SNAP qualifies individuals for other government assistance programs like Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Lifeline offers discounts on communication services, including mobile devices, while the ACP provides discounts on internet service and internet-connected devices, including smartphones. Certain providers now offer free iPhones to eligible households through both Lifeline and ACP, making it possible to obtain a free iPhone when participating in the Food Stamp program.
How to Get a Free iPhone With EBT – Full Process
To obtain a free iPhone with EBT, follow these straightforward steps:
- Begin by applying for the EBT/Food Stamp program if you are not already a participant.
- Identify the most suitable Lifeline/ACP service provider available in your locality. Select one that participates in both programs as currently only such companies offer free government iPhones. Confirm that the chosen provider genuinely provides free iPhones for Food Stamp/EBT participants.
- Submit an application for a free iPhone within the Lifeline/ACP program.
- Wait for approval of your application.
- Upon approval, receive your free iPhone and proceed to activate the device.
It may sound like a lot, but it’s actually a very simple process and to make it even simpler, we will break it down for you in the following sections.
How to Get a Free iPhone With EBT Step 1 – Applying for EBT
To obtain a free iPhone with EBT, you must initially meet the criteria for the Food Stamp/SNAP/EBT program and then proceed to apply for both the Lifeline and ACP programs.
Note: In case you already participate in EBT/SNAP, you can move on to the next section.
Eligibility for the Food Stamp/SNAP or EBT Program:
Under federal regulations, households must meet three criteria to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Food Stamps program, which would enable you to start using the EBT card:
- Gross monthly income (household income before applying program deductions) must be at or below 130% of the poverty line, with varying poverty line levels for different family sizes.
- Net income (household income after program deductions) must be at or below the poverty line.
- Assets must not exceed specific limits: households without elderly or disabled members should have assets below $2,500, while households with such members should have assets below $3,750.
Certain individuals, such as unauthorized immigrants, some lawfully present immigrants, strikers, students attending college more than half the time, and more, may not be eligible to apply for SNAP benefits. In certain areas, unemployed adults without children who lack disabilities may be limited to receiving SNAP benefits for three months every three years.
Required Documents for Food Stamp Program Application:
Throughout the application process, you will need to verify your SNAP eligibility by providing specific documents, including:
- Proof of identity (e.g., passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, etc.).
- Proof of citizenship and immigration status (e.g., U.S. passport, permanent resident card, etc.).
- Proof of Social Security Number (e.g., Social Security Card, photo ID with birth date, etc.).
- Proof of residency (e.g., mortgage statement, rent receipt, lease agreement, etc.).
- Proof of income (e.g., bank statements, pay stubs, income tax returns, utility bills, etc.).
How to Get a Free iPhone With EBT Step 2 – Finding a Suitable Lifeline/ACP Company That Offers Free iPhones With EBT
You can find a list of all the Lifeline/ACP companies that operate in your area by visiting https://cnm.universalservice.org/, entering your location, choosing the program, and pressing Enter. However, not all of the companies that you will see on that list offer free iPhones. In fact, the majority doesn’t. So far, only three Lifeline/ACP companies have confirmed to offer free iPhones to eligible customers. These companies are:
- Cintex Wireless: To apply, visit https://cintexwireless.com/, press Apply, provide your ZIP code, and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the online application process. Make sure to select the Lifeline & ACP Combo plan and if prompted, select which device you wish to receive. You will likely be able to choose from several iPhones and Android smartphones.
- NewPhone Wireless: To apply, visit https://newphone.com/, press Apply, provide your ZIP code, review the offer, select the Lifeline & ACP plan, choose a high-quality iPhone, and follow the online application process.
- AirTalk Wireless: To apply for a free iPhone with EBT through AirTalk, visit https://airtalkwireless.com/, press Apply, enter your ZIP code, review the offer in your area, select the right plan (Lifeline & ACP), and follow the online application process, during which you will likely have a chance to select which iPhone model you wish to receive.
These companies are all affiliated, therefore they also offer free monthly talk minutes, text, data, and the opportunity for ACP customers to purchase a discounted tablet.
How to Get a Free iPhone With EBT Step 3 – Apply for a Free iPhone With EBT Through Lifeline/ACP
Qualifying for Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP):
To be eligible for Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program, your household must meet specific criteria defined by federal regulations. These criteria are as follows:
- You must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor.
- You can only apply for one Lifeline and ACP benefit per household.
- You can only apply through a company that operates in your area.
- You must participate in the EBT/SNAP/Food Stamp Program.
Even if you don’t participate in EBT/SNAP, your household can still qualify for Lifeline/ACP if it, or any of its members, meets at least one of the following conditions:
- Income-based eligibility: Your household’s annual income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for Lifeline. Your household’s annual income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for ACP.
- Program-based eligibility: You or another member of your household must participate in one of the following Federal or Tribal Assistance Programs:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (Lifeline and ACP)
- Medicaid (Lifeline and ACP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) (Lifeline and ACP)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit (Lifeline and ACP)
- Head Start (for households meeting the income qualifying standard) (Lifeline and ACP)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (Lifeline and ACP)
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF) (Lifeline and ACP)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (Lifeline and ACP)
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) (ACP)
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools (ACP)
- Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year (ACP)
- Lifeline – receiving a Lifeline benefit automatically qualifies you for the ACP
Required Documents for Lifeline and ACP Application:
When applying for Lifeline and the ACP, you may need to provide specific documents to verify your eligibility. The required documentation includes:
- Proof of identity and age: An official document confirming your identity, which includes your full legal name and date of birth, such as a passport, government ID, driver’s license, or other suitable identification documents.
- Proof of address: An official document displaying your full legal name and physical address, which may include government IDs, utility bills, lease statements, or other relevant address verification documents.
- Proof of EBT/SNAP participation (or participation in another qualifying government assistance program): An official document that includes your full legal name, the program’s name, the document-issuing establishment, and a date issued within the last 12 months or a future expiration date, such as approval letter, statement of benefits, or benefit award/verification letter.
- Proof of income: An official document indicating your full legal name and annual income, such as an income statement from your employer, paycheck stubs, tax returns, or other acceptable income documents.
To apply for SNAP, Lifeline, and the ACP online, you can submit digital copies of the necessary documents. If you opt to apply through the mail, you’ll need to send physical document copies. However, ensure that you submit photocopies made with a copy machine, scanner, camera, or smartphone, and never send original documents.
Applying for a Free iPhone With EBT Through Lifeline/ACP
Oftentimes, you have the option to apply for Lifeline or the ACP directly through an authorized provider. To do this, locate a Lifeline/ACP provider in your vicinity that provides free iPhones with EBT, as detailed in the previous section. Then, reach out to the selected provider and initiate your application by following their specific application procedures. Usually, you can simply visit the provider’s official website, enter your ZIP code, review the company’s exact offer at your location, select the plan (to receive a free iPhone, you should select the Lifeline and ACP combo plan), and when redirected, complete the application form by providing all the required information and documentation copies. Submit the application.
Sometimes (if your provider doesn’t automatically run each application through the National Verifier), you may be asked to also apply for Lifeline/ACP through the National Verifier (a federal system that is in charge of checking and verifying each application) yourself. In this case, your provider will give you all the relevant information about how to do so.
How to Get a Free iPhone With EBT Step 4 – Wait for Lifeline/ACP Approval
After submitting your application, wait for the company to review it and contact you when they reach a decision. Your application will either be approved or rejected, depending on whether or not you meet the eligibility criteria. However, if you receive EBT/SNAP benefits and meet the age and state requirements, you should be approved easily. However, before you submit the application double-check that the provided details are correct, complete, and valid to avoid any unwanted delays.
If approved, the company will likely send you your free iPhone via mail. You can expect to receive the device, a free SIM card, activation information, and the information about your account, which will include free monthly call minutes, texts, and high-speed data, within a few business days.
How to Get a Free iPhone With EBT Step 5 – Receive a Free iPhone With EBT
Once you’ve received your free iPhone, you can insert the SIM card into the phone’s SIM slot and follow the activation instructions to activate your device.
Then, you can simply enjoy your amazing device, which will enable you to stay in touch with loved ones, complete any school or work-related tasks, monitor your health, stay entertained, contact your healthcare provider or emergency services, and much more.
Free iPhones currently offered by Lifeline/ACP providers include iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 6s, SE, and more. Note that in case your provider won’t be able to offer you a free iPhone, you may receive a mid-range Android smartphone, such as Samsung Galaxy S9+, Motorola G Stylus 2020, or Google Pixel 4 XL.
Additionally, you will get to enjoy other Lifeline/ACP benefits, including free monthly talk minutes, texts, data, nationwide network access, and more. ACP customers may also purchase a tablet with a huge discount.
Last, but not least, as an EBT/SNAP participant, you will be able to get free food at authorized stores. Sounds like quite the deal, right? Good luck!