Having a smartphone is a necessity in today’s world. It is not just a means of communication, but also a tool for education, employment, and access to essential services. However, for low-income people, affording a smartphone can be a challenge. Apple’s iPhones, in particular, can be expensive, and not everyone can afford to buy one. Fortunately, there are programs available that can help low-income people get free iPhones. This article will discuss how to qualify and apply for free iPhones for low-income people.
Is it Possible to Get Free iPhones for Low-Income People
Yes, it is possible to get free iPhones for low-income people. Several programs offer free smartphones to those who qualify. These programs are designed to help low-income households stay connected to the internet, which is essential for education, employment, and access to essential services.
- The most important program that offers free iPhones and other phone models for low-income people is the Lifeline Assistance Program. This is a government assistance program that offers discounts on monthly phone, wireless, and internet services, as well as cell phones. While the Lifeline program traditionally only offered entry-level to mid-range Android phones and flip phones, with the recent launching of the new supplementary program that offers discounts on internet services and connected devices (the Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP), some companies now offer high-quality Android smartphones and iPhones. As such, households that qualify for both Lifeline and ACP can get free iPhones from the government.
- You can get free or discounted iPhones through retailer or carrier promotional deals. However, you will be required to meet the carrier’s conditions, such as signing up for a pricey plan.
- Free iPhones for low-income people may also be available through certain charities or non-profit organizations.
- Finally, you can try your luck at getting a free iPhone online. Nowadays, there are many ways to win a free device online.
What is the Process of Getting Free iPhones for Low-Income People Through the Government
The process of getting free iPhones for low-income people through the government involves several steps.
- First, you need to make sure that you qualify for both Lifeline and ACP as only through a combination of those will you be able to get a free iPhone.
- If you do qualify, you will need to provide proof of your eligibility.
- Finally, you will have to apply for the program. Once your application is approved, you will receive a free iPhone.
How to Qualify for Free iPhones for Low-Income People
To qualify for free iPhones for low-income people through Lifeline and ACP, you must meet certain income requirements or participate in a qualifying government assistance program.
The specific income requirements vary depending on the state and the household size, but in general, you must have an annual household income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty level to qualify for Lifeline and an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level to qualify for ACP.
Program Participation-based Eligibility
Alternatively, you qualify if you or any other member of your household participate in at least one of the following programs:
- Medicaid (Lifeline and ACP)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (Lifeline and ACP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (Lifeline and ACP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) (Lifeline and ACP)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit (Lifeline and ACP)
- Tribal Programs (for people who live on federally-recognized Tribal lands) (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 (ACP)
- Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year (ACP)
Note that you can also qualify for ACP through your Lifeline participation, as all Lifeline subscribers automatically qualify for ACP. On the other hand, if you qualify for ACP, it does not mean that you also automatically qualify for Lifeline.
In addition to the federal eligibility criteria listed above, participation in any of these programs also requires the applicant to be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor, the only applicant in the household (exceptions apply), and to apply through a Lifeline and ACP-participating company that offers free iPhones for low-income people in the applicant’s state of residence.
How to Prove Your Eligibility to Receive Free iPhones for Low Income Through the Government
To prove your eligibility for free iPhones for low-income people through Lifeline and ACP, you will need to provide documentation. The specific documentation required varies depending on the program, but in general, you will need to provide:
- Proof of income – a copy of a valid official document that includes your full legal name and income, such as tax returns, pay stubs, a current income statement from your employer, etc.
- Proof of participation in a qualifying program – a copy of a valid official document that includes your full legal name, the name of the program, the name of the issuing institution, and a valid date, such as a letter from the program, a benefit statement, an approval letter, etc.
- Proof of identity and age – a copy of a valid official document that includes your full legal name and date of birth, such as a valid ID, driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate.
- Proof of address – a copy of a valid official document that includes your full legal name and physical address, such as a valid ID, driver’s license, utility bill, mortgage or lease statement, etc.
- You may also be asked to provide proof of emancipation, SSN, proof of life, etc.
It’s important to prepare clear copies of these documents in advance to ensure a quick and smooth application process. The copies can be digital or physical, depending on how you apply, just make sure to never submit original documents.
How to Apply for iPhones for Low Income Through Lifeline and ACP
The Lifeline program and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) are two programs that offer free iPhones and Android smartphones to low-income households, however, only when combined, as this way the providing company gets sufficient funds from the country to finance such high-quality and expensive devices. To apply for free iPhones through these programs, you will need to follow these steps:
- Once you have determined your eligibility and gathered proof of it, you can start.
- First, apply through the National Verifier. You can do so online or via mail.
- To apply for Lifeline online, go to nv.fcc.gov/lifeline and fill out the application form by providing all the required information and proof documentation.To apply for ACP online, go to nv.fcc.gov/lifeline?id=acp&awsl=link-from-how-to-apply and complete the application form.To apply for Lifeline via mail, print out an application at lifelinesupport.org/wp-content/uploads/documents/get-lifeline/LI_Application_NVstates.pdf, complete it, add the physical copies of your proof documentation, and send the package to Lifeline Support Center, P.O. Box 9100, Wilkes-Barre, PA 1877.
- To apply for ACP via mail, print out an application at affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/ACP-Application-Form-English.pdf, print out a Household Worksheet at affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/lifeline/images/ACP-Household-Worksheet-English.pdf, complete both forms, add the copies of your proof documentation, and send the papers to ACP Support Center, PO Box 9100, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773
- Find a participating provider: The Lifeline program and ACP are administered by participating providers. You will need to find a participating provider in your area. Visit the company’s official website and find its application form.
- Choose a plan: The participating providers offer several plans that vary in terms of minutes, data, and other features. Choose a plan that suits your needs. In order to get a free iPhone, you must choose the Lifeline & ACP Combo plan (if such a plan is available in your area).
- Apply for the program: Once you have chosen a plan, you will need to apply for the program. The application process varies depending on the provider, but in general, you will need to provide proof of eligibility and fill out an application form.
- Receive your free iPhone: If your application is approved, you will receive your free iPhone. The specific model of the iPhone may vary depending on the program and provider. You will also likely receive other benefits, such as free monthly talk minutes, text messages, data, and perhaps even a discounted tablet.
Which Lifeline and ACP Companies Offer Free iPhones for Low-Income People
Currently, there are only three Lifeline and ACP providers that have confirmed to offer free iPhones:
- AirTalk Wireless (see the offer and apply at airtalkwireless.com)
- Cintex Wireless (see the offer and apply at cintexwireless.com)
- NewPhone Wireless (see the offer and apply at newphone.com)
Some other providers may also offer free iPhones for low-income customers, however, as they don’t reveal the phone brands and models in advance, it’s hard to know for sure.
Which Free iPhone Models for Low-Income Households are Currently Available
The Lifeline and ACP providers that surely offer free iPhones currently provide eligible customers with the following iPhone models:
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 8
How to Get Free iPhones Through Promotional Deals
Cell phone carriers and retailers often have deals and promotions on various devices, including iPhones. These offers are temporary and come with specific terms and conditions. There are different types of promotional deals available, such as trade-in promotions, loyalty rewards, sign up for a new plan or add a line, referral programs, and buy-one-get-one deals.
Carriers and retailers that often offer promo deals on free iPhones include Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Mint Mobile, Cricket Wireless, Walmart, Best Buy, and the Apple store.
How to Get Free iPhones for Low-Income People Through Non-Profits
Numerous charitable and non-profit groups, such as Mobile Giving Foundation, Charity Mobile, Causes, On It Foundation, and SmartRiverside, provide free devices to customers who cannot afford them. However, they typically offer lower-priced alternatives to iPhones instead of free iPhones.
Additionally, low-income households in need may request a free phone from local schools, libraries, and churches, but these organizations are also unlikely to provide free iPhones.
How to Get Free iPhones Online
Here are some ways to get a free iPhone in addition to the methods mentioned above:
- Online giveaways and contests. Look out for giveaways and contests organized by carriers, retailers, and online platforms, which offer an opportunity to win a free iPhone. However, it is important to be wary of scams while participating in these events.
- Online Surveys: Nowadays, many companies, including Amazon Vine, offer free devices to customers who participate in surveys.
- Online and Offline Marketplaces: There are several online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Swappa, Gazelle, Facebook Marketplace, etc., where you could potentially purchase a highly discounted refurbished or used iPhone.