Is It Possible to Get a Free iPhone XR Under the Government Lifeline Program?
Apple iPhone XR is one of the most popular iPhone models ever made. The device is known and beloved for its sturdy, yet sleek design, a vibrant edge-to-edge 6.1-inch display with 818 x 1792 pixels, a high-quality 12MP main camera and the 7MP selfie camera, lots of storage room, a dependable battery, and all the advanced features, such as Face ID, the TrueDepth camera system, fast wireless charging, etc.
The device was launched in 2018 and while the price has decreased since, the device still costs at least over $200. This price is too high for many low-income families to pay. But wouldn’t it be amazing if one could get an iPhone XR free from the government?
While it probably will be possible to receive a free government iPhone XR through the Lifeline assistance program in the future, currently, there are no Lifeline providers that would offer a free iPhone XR. Nevertheless, there are certain Lifeline providers that offer other Apple iPhone models to eligible low-income customers – models that are just as good as iPhone XR. Find out more in the following section.
What Model of iPhone Does the Government Provide for Free?
Since it is currently impossible to receive a free government iPhone XR, you may be wondering, which exactly iPhone models are available through the Lifeline government assistance program. Well, currently, certain Lifeline providers offer the following free government iPhone models:
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 8
Given the fact that until recently Lifeline providers only offered entry-level to mid-range flip phones and Android phones, the selection of currently available iPhones is pretty amazing, don’t you think?
What is the Process to Get a Free iPhone Provided by the Government?
Not only does the government actually offer free government iPhones, but the process of receiving one is relatively simple as well – that is if you qualify for the government assistance program.
- First of all, you must not only qualify for Lifeline but the Affordable Connectivity Program as well
Lifeline is a government assistance program that is available in all states and territories and offers discounts on phone, wireless, and internet services for eligible low-income people. Lifeline providers only offer discounts of up to $9.25 a month (or up to $34.25 a month for eligible Tribal households) on services and discounts on basic to mid-level cell phones.
As these funds clearly do not cover the cost of the iPhone models mentioned above, customers must also qualify for the new Affordable Connectivity Program. The ACP program offers discounts on monthly broadband services (up to $30 or $75 a month for eligible Tribal households) and one-time discounts on connected devices.
Numerous Lifeline providers also participate in the ACP program and it is only through a combined Lifeline + ACP program that you can receive a free government iPhone. See the government-determined Lifeline and ACP eligibility criteria in the next section.
- Secondly, you will be required to prove your eligibility. This process ensures that nobody takes advantage of the government assistance program. See which documents count as proof below.
- Next, you will have to apply for both government assistance programs.
- If your application gets approved, you can then move on to find a Lifeline and ACP provider that offers free government iPhones in your area.
See details in the following sections.
How to Qualify for a Free iPhone From the Government?
As mentioned before, only people who qualify for Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program can receive a free iPhone from the government. So, let’s check out the FCC’s universal eligibility criteria:
A household is Lifeline-eligible if:
- The household annual income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The guidelines depend on your household size and the state.
- A household member participates in any of the following Lifeline-qualifying government assistance programs:
- SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as Food Stamps)
- SSI – Supplemental Security Income
- FPHA – Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard)
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
A household is ACP-eligible if:
- The household annual income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- A household member participates in Lifeline.
- A household member participates in any of the Lifeline-qualifying government assistance programs listed above.
- A household member participates in:
- WIC – Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools.
- The household has received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year.
In order to participate in any of the two assistance programs, you must also be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor and you can only apply for services with providers that operate in your state of residence.
Also, keep in mind that both benefits are only available to one subscriber per eligible household and that the benefits are non-transferable.
Which Documents are Required When Applying for a Free Government iPhone?
During the application process, you will be required to submit copies of certain official documents that prove your eligibility. This way, the government ensures that only those who truly qualify can receive the benefits.
Depending on your eligibility criteria, you may have to provide:
- Proof of annual household income, such as:
- Current income statement from your employer or paycheck stubs
- Prior year’s state, federal or Tribal tax return
- Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation statement of benefits
- Veterans Administration statement of benefits
- Federal or Tribal notice letter of participation in General Assistance
- Divorce decree
- Child support award
- Or another valid official document that includes your full legal name and annual household income
- Proof of participation in a qualifying government assistance program, such as:
- Approval letter
- Benefit award letter
- Benefit verification letter
- Statement of benefits
- Or another valid official document that includes your full legal name, the name of the assistance program, the name of the institution that issued the document, and an issue date within the last year or a future expiration date
Additionally, you may have to provide:
- Proof of identity or age (a valid government, state, military, or Tribal ID, passport, birth certificate, Permanent Resident Card or Green Card, etc.)
- Proof of address (ID, driver’s license, mortgage, lease statement, utility bill, most recent W-2 or tax return, etc.)
- Proof of emancipation (if you are an emancipated minor)
- Proof of life
- Duplicate address
- Your Social Security Number or Tribal ID Number
Before you begin your application process, make sure to make clear copies of some of these documents. Depending on whether you are planning to apply online or via mail, the copies can be digital or physical. However, make sure to never send out original documents.
How to Apply for Free Government iPhone
Now that you are ready to apply for Lifeline and ACP and potentially receive a free government iPhone, you have three options – you can apply online, via mail, or through a Lifeline/ACP provider directly.
- Visit nv.fcc.gov/lifeline (Lifeline online application form) and nv.fcc.gov/lifeline/?id=nv_flow&amp;amp;amp;amp;ebbp=true (ACP online application form).
- If prompted, choose your state or territory and press ‘Get started’. You may also be required to log in or create a new account.
- Once you get redirected to the online application form, fill it out by providing all the required information and documentation.
- At the bottom of each page, press ‘Next’, and at the end, submit your application.
Apply Via Mail
- Print out a Lifeline application at lifelinesupport.org/wp-content/uploads/documents/get-lifeline/LI_Application_NVstates.pdf and an ACP application at affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/ACP-Application-Form-English.pdf.
- When applying for the ACP program, it is also recommended to include a Household Worksheet, which is available at affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/lifeline/images/ACP-Household-Worksheet-English.pdf.
- Complete the forms and add copies of your proof documentation.
- Send the package to Lifeline/ACP Support Center, PO Box 7081, London, KY 40742.
Apply Through a Provider
Certain Lifeline/ACP providers require you to apply through the National Verifier (Lifeline/ACP support center) first. However, some companies enable you to apply directly through their website. To do so, find a company that offers free government iPhones in your area. Check out the companies that currently offer free government iPhones in the following section.
Which Companies Offer Free Government iPhones?
While there are currently no Lifeline/ACP providers that would offer a free government iPhone XR, there are some companies that offer other iPhone models free of charge. In addition, some of these companies offer the iPhone XR at a considerable discount. These companies include:
AirTalk Wireless is a Lifeline/ACP provider that offers free monthly services, discounted ACP tablets, and free government phones. Lifeline and ACP-eligible customers can choose from a large selection of free flip phones, Android phones, and iPhones.
In addition, the company also offers an iPhone XR at a considerable discount.
All of these benefits are available to eligible residents of California, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
To apply, go to airtalkwireless.com, press ‘Apply Now’, and enter your ZIP code. If the company offers its services in your area, you will be redirected to your state’s offer. There, you can select the plan (the Lifeline + ACP plan is the only one that enables you to get a free iPhone). Proceed to complete the application process. If accepted, you will be notified via email.
Just like AirTalk, Cintex also offers free monthly services, discounted tablets, and phones through its Lifeline/ACP benefit program. At Cintex, you will be able to select the free phone you wish to receive.
While the company doesn’t offer a free government iPhone XR, it does offer a highly discounted one.
The company operates in the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Begin the application process at cintexwireless.com. Press ‘Apply Now’ and enter your ZIP code. You will then be redirected to your state’s offer, where you will be able to choose the plan (Lifeline + ACP). Follow the prompts to fill out the application form.
NewPhone is AirTalk and Cintex’s affiliate company, therefore its offer and application process are basically the same. NewPhone Wireless also offers free government iPhones (in addition to other benefits), but it currently doesn’t offer discounted iPhone XR models.
Only the residents of Louisiana and Wyoming can apply.
To enroll, go to newphone.com, press ‘Apply Now’, and follow the on-screen prompts to fill out the application form.
SFone Wireless does currently not offer free government iPhones (or any other phones), however, eligible customers can get several free iPhone models (including iPhone XR) with a large discount. See the offer at sfonewireless.com/phones.php.
SFone offers its services to residents of a handful of countries, including Arkansas, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
Apply for SFone’s benefits at sfonewireless.com/index.php.
What Else Can I Get With a Free iPhone if I’m Lifeline Eligible?
Lifeline and ACP-eligible customers can also expect to receive:
- Free monthly phone or wireless services with free talk, text, and data
- Free monthly internet services
- And perhaps a discounted tablet (ACP customers only)
How Can I Get a Free iPhone XR if the Government Doesn’t Give Free iPhones XR?
In case you do not qualify for the Lifeline/ACP program, there are also some other ways to receive a free iPhone XR, including:
- Via carrier deals (however, they may have some special conditions)
- Via retailer deals
- Via online surveys or Amazon Vine
- By becoming a marketing agent or a reviewer
- Via online giveaway contests (watch out for scams)
Does the Government Offer Any Other Free Smartphone Models Apart From iPhones?
In addition to the mentioned iPhone models, the government also offers several flip phones and Android smartphone models, including:
- Google Pixel
- Google Pixel 4XL
- LG Stylo 6
- LG V50 ThinQ 5G
- Motorola G Fast
- Motorola G Stylus
- Motorola Z4
- OnePlus N10 Nord 5G
- OnePlus N200 Nord 5G
- Samsung Galaxy A50
- Samsung Galaxy S9
- Samsung Note 8
- Samsung S9 Plus
- Unimax U693CL