Nowadays, most people have both a smartphone and a laptop, both of which offer amazing benefits. However, there is also this one device that combines the best features of a smartphone and a laptop all wrapped into one practical portable device – the tablet. Luckily, tablets are not that hard to find – in fact, you can even get one for free! In this article, we will break down exactly how to get a free tablet in California.
Why Do People Need a Free Tablet in California
Tablets are perhaps the most versatile and practical electronic device in this day and age. They enable us to:
- Get in touch with loved ones (via internet-supported apps or even via SIM card)
- Make regular and video calls, send text messages, and access the internet
- Search for practical information online
- Apply for jobs and work from home
- Access virtual classrooms and study
- Read and write
- Take and watch photos and videos
- Watch movies and listen to music or podcasts
- Play games
- And much more
Ways to Get a Free Tablet in California
There are several ways to get a free tablet in California. Review these options and pick the one that best fits your needs.
- Get a carrier or retailer deal: Some carrier companies and retailers tend to offer frequent promotional deals (especially around holidays) and may offer customers a discounted or even free tablet. However, many of these deals come with certain conditions. For example, they may require you to switch to a carrier’s services, add a line, purchase a lengthy and expensive plan, trade in an old device in good working condition, etc.
- Get a free or discounted tablet online: There are tons of opportunities to get a free tablet in California online. You can enter an online giveaway, become a reviewer or marketing agent, participate in surveys, etc. Nonetheless, make sure to avoid scams.
- Get a free tablet in California from a non-profit organization or charity: Charities and non-profit organizations all around the country also offer free devices, including tablets. However, only low-income people are eligible to receive a free device through a non-profit. Try your luck with some of the following companies – Cty.Org, EveryoneOn, Causes, Smartriverside, Freecycle, CTAC, Microsoft Registered Refurbished, World Computer Exchange, The On It Foundation, Adaptive.Org, Komputers 4 Kids, Technology Assisting People in Need, etc.
- Get a free tablet in California from the government: Finally, in California (as well as in all other states), there is a government assistance program that offers discounts on tablets. This program enables eligible low-income customers to apply for and receive a free government tablet through a participating wireless provider. See how to get a free tablet from the government in California in the following section.
How to Get a Free Tablet in California From the Government?
Eligible customers can receive a free government tablet in California through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). ACP is a government assistance program provided by the FCC and supported by the Universal Service Fund that offers discounts on monthly internet services and devices. ACP subscribers can receive:
- A discount on broadband services of up to $30 a month
- A discount on broadband services of up to $75 a month (for eligible Tribal households only)
- A one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer from a participating provider. Note: According to government rules, the customer must pay a mandatory co-pay of more than $10 and less than $50 to receive the device, as such the ‘free government tablet’ is not completely free of charge.
In order to receive a free tablet in California through the government, you must follow the process below:
1. How to Qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program in California
In order to qualify for the ACP program in California, you must meet one of the following FCC-determined requirements:
Your annual household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, which depends on the household size. See the table below.
|Household Size||Annual Income|
|1||$27,180 or less|
|2||$36,620 or less|
|3||$46,060 or less|
|4||$55,500 or less|
|5||$64,940 or less|
|6||$74,380 or less|
|7||$83,820 or less|
|8||$93,260 or less|
|For each additional person add:||$9,440|
Program Participation-based Eligibility
A household member participates in one of the following assistance programs:
- CalFresh or SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
- 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
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
In addition, you must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor to qualify and you must follow the ACP rules, such as the fact that only one ACP benefit is available per eligible household and that the benefit is non-transferable.
2. What Documents Must I Submit During the Application Process
During the application process, you will be required to submit certain documents that prove your eligibility. Depending on which eligibility requirement you meet, you may have to provide:
- A copy of a valid official document that includes your full legal name and income to prove your low annual income. Acceptable documents include paycheck stubs, a current income statement from your employer, a Social Security statement of benefits, an Unemployment/Workmen’s Compensation statement of benefits, a prior year’s state, federal, or tribal tax return, etc.
- A copy of a valid official document that includes your full legal name, the name of the assistance program you participate in, the name of the institution that issued the document, and an issue date within the last year or a future expiration date. Acceptable documents include an approval letter, benefit award letter, statement of benefits, benefit verification letter, and school documentation.
You may also be required to verify your identity, age, address, emancipation, etc.
3. How to Apply for ACP to Receive a Free Tablet in California
You can apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program online, via mail, or directly through your chosen ACP provider.
To apply online, follow these steps:
- Visit nv.fcc.gov/lifeline/?ebbp=true&id=nv_flow&link-from-how-to-apply=true&ln=RW5nbGlzaA%3D%3D.
- Fill out the online application form by providing all the required information and documentation in the provided boxes. At the end of each page, press ‘Next’, and at the end of the final page, tap ‘Submit’.
- If you apply online, you can receive immediate approval (if eligible).
To apply via mail, follow these instructions:
- Visit test.acpbenefit.org.usac1-cos-mp1.blackmesh.com/wp-content/uploads/ACP-Application-Form-English.pdf to print out an application in English.
- USAC also recommends including a Household Worksheet with your application. You can find it at affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/lifeline/images/ACP-Household-Worksheet-English.pdf.
- Complete the forms, add the proof documentation, and send the package to ACP Support Center, PO Box 7081, London, KY 40742.
To apply through an ACP provider, find one that offers free tablets in California and apply through its application process.
Which ACP Providers Offer Free or Discounted Tablets Under the ACP Program in California?
Not all ACP providers operate in all U.S. states. Of those that operate in California, only a few offer free or discounted ACP tablets, while others only offer discounts on monthly services.
The best ACP providers that offer free tablets in California include:
ACP subscribers that reside in California can apply for ACP benefits at AirTalk Wireless. AirTalk is one of the most generous ACP companies in the country. It offers free monthly plans (ACP Only, Lifeline Only, and Lifeline + ACP Plan, which comes with the most benefits) with high-speed data, unlimited minutes, and unlimited text messages, plus, customers can receive a Airtalk free phone. ACP subscribers can also purchase a discounted ACP tablet of their own choice. Prices of tablets start at $10.01 and the devices are of high quality and from the most reputable brands, such as Samsung and Apple.
To apply, go to airtalkwireless.com/apply, enter your ZIP code, choose a plan, and fill out the application form by following the on-screen prompts.
StandUp Wireless is a Lifeline and ACP provider that offers free unlimited talk, text, and data (14GB of high-speed data), nationwide coverage, a free phone, and even discounted tablets, which are only available to ACP subscribers.
To apply for StandUp’s ACP benefits and purchase the ACP tablet, go to standupwireless.com, enter your ZIP code and email address, and press ‘Begin Application’. Follow the on-screen prompts to choose the plan that best fits your needs and to complete the application form.
Excess Telecom is another ACP provider that offers free internet services and ‘free’ ACP tablets for eligible households living in California.
To get these ACP benefits, visit excesstelecom.com, type in your ZIP code, and press ‘Learn More’. Then, follow the on-screen prompts to apply for the company’s ACP program and potentially receive a discounted tablet.
There are also many other ACP providers in California, such as Assist Wireless, Assurance Wireless, Boost Mobile, enTouch Wireless, Q Link Wireless, TracFone Wireless, TruConnect Wireless, and many more. However, these companies do currently not offer discounts on ACP tablets in the state of California.
Free Tablet Brands and Models Available in California
Most ACP providers don’t allow customers to pick the tablet they wish to receive themselves. Moreover, they generally don’t even reveal which tablet model the customer will receive, as the offer depends on the availability and the client’s plan.
However, AirTalk Wireless does enable the customer to choose the tablet and the company currently offers the following ACP discounted tablets:
- Apple iPad Air 2
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 4
- Apple iPad Mini 3
- Alcatel Joy Tab 2
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 2020
- Samsung Galaxy Tab E
- Samsung Tab A7 Lite
- Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus
- Apple iPad 3
- KonnectONE Moxee Tablet
- Apple iPad 4
- Apple iPad Mini
- And more