Under the Federal Lifeline Assistance free government cell phones are available in California.  To qualify you need to be on one of the follow programs or have qualify by income.

You must provide proof of eligibility for one of the programs.  When enrolling on-line, you will need to upload the documentation.  So be sure to have the documentation on hand.  You must also have a valid mailing address -a phone cannot be mailed to a PO box.  Only one Lifeline phone per household permitted.  At the end of one year,  you need to re-qualify for the Lifeline program.

Method 1 Program-Based – You can qualify if you or another person in your household is enrolled in any one of the following public assistance programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivor’s Benefit.
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (BIA)
  • Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
  • Tribal Head Start (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

Method 2 Income-Based – You may also qualify if your total annual household gross income is at or less than annual income limits for your household size:

Income Based Eligibility for California
Members in Household Annual income
1-2 member $26,400
3 members $30,700
4 members $37,300
5 members $43,900
6 members $50,500
7 members $57,100
8 members $63,700
For each additional member add $6,600 annually
Effective from 6/1/17 to 5/31/18.
  • Assurance Wireless (Sprint/Nextell Company):  Under their California FREEdom Plan, you will receive a cell phone, unlimited talk and text, plus 500 MB data.  Phone:  1-888-898-4888
  • Life Wireless: Free phone and unlimited voice calling, unlimited texting and 500 MB of data.  Phone: 1-888-543-3620 (hours Mon-Sat 9-6pm EST)
  • TAG Mobile:  This provider gives you a cell phone, unlimited voice minutes, unlimited global texting, plus plus unlimited 2G/3G data data.  Customer Care: 1-866-959-4918

Above are the 3 leading companies offering the best deals.  However there are 10 companies in California that also offer Lifeline service.  See the website https://www.freegovernmentcellphones.net/states/california-government-cell-phone-providers for more information and FAQs