If you reached our Assurance Wireless page from a search engine, please read our Free Government Cell Phone page first to learn valuable general program information.
With millions of Americans out of work or underemployed many people are turning to the government to help make ends meet. The truth is that the government wants out of work Americans get back to work as badly as they want to find a job. Finding a job can be difficult without a convenient way of receiving calls from potential employers. Luckily for the millions of out of work and/or low income Americans, the government has a free cell phone service program called the Lifeline Assistance program. Eligible applicants can receive a free cell phone and up to 250 free cell phone minutes a month. The only catch is you have to qualify. That is where Gov Cell Phones comes in. We show what you need to know and how to qualify for free cell phone service. Interested? Read on and learn more.
Assurance Wireless, a subsidiary of Virgin Mobile, is the second largest free government cell phone provider operating in the United States. Assurance Wireless currently operates in 31 states and the District of Columbia and is expanding rapidly into new states.
Assurance Wireless provides a free modern cell phone and up to 250 free local and long distance cell phone minutes to qualifying applicants. Assurance Wireless recently updated their program offerings. Now all customers receive free text messaging. Customers using the free basic plan receive 250 free incoming and outgoing text messages in addition to the 250 free cell phone minutes they already receive free of charge every month.
For users who need more time or texts, Assurance Wireless offers optional top up minutes and reasonably priced monthly plans that generously increase the number of monthly voice minutes. Assurance Wireless offers the following top up options to customers:
- $5 for an extra 250 voice minute package and 250 text messages (500 minutes total)
- $20 for an extra 750 minute and 1,000 text message package (1,000 minutes total)
- $30 for unlimited voice minutes, text messages, and web browsing
- 10 cents per minute without either of the packages above
Additional Text Messages
- $5 for 200 text message package; or
- 10 cents per sent or received text message
Assurance Wireless is able to provide free cell phones and service thanks to the federally mandated Universal Service Fund (USF). The USF is tasked with increasing accessibility to telecommunication services to rural and low income families. In order to achieve these goals the USF funds the Lifeline Assistance and Link-Up programs, which provide subsidies to telecom operators to cover the cost of setting up and providing phone service.
The Link-Up program provides a 15 dollar subsidy to telecom operators to subsidize the cost of setting up your phone service. This subsidy covers the cost, in part, of the cell phone Assurance Wireless provides its customers.
The Lifeline Assistance program provides 10 dollar a month subsidy to telecom operators to cover the cost of monthly service. In some states, the state government increases this subsidy to cover the higher cost of cell phone service in that state. This is why the number of minutes that free government cell phone providers varies from state to state.
While it may seem that Assurance Wireless’ goals are completely charitable, they do earn a large amount of revenue from customers who opt to buy top up minutes and/or purchase the optional monthly paid cell phone plans. Also, many customers who lose their eligibility for Assurance Wireless’ free government cell phone program (due to getting a higher paying job for example), choose to continue using Virgin Mobile’s paid cell phone services.
By now, you must be wondering how you can qualify for a free government phone from Assurance Wireless? If you are interested in signing up for Assurance Wireless, as a first step, you need to determine if Assurance Wireless offers service in your state.
Assurance Wireless currently offers free government cell phone service in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Please visit our Assurance Wireless State Eligibility page to learn the specific eligibility criteria for your state.
Sadly, if you don’t reside in any one of the states mentioned above, you cannot receive Assurance Wireless service. If this is the case, we recommend reviewing state availability for other free government cell phone providers and checking back with our website frequently, because Assurance Wireless and other Lifeline cell phone providers are constantly introducing service in new states.
Qualifying for Service
If Assurance Wireless does offers cell phone service in your state, the next step in determining your eligibility is to see if you qualify for the Assurance Wireless program. In most states, there are two methods for qualifying for Assurance Wireless service. The first method is government assistance based eligibility and the second method is income based eligibility.
Government Assistance Based Eligibility
Under government assistance based eligibility, you qualify for Assurance Wireless if you participate in a qualifying government assistance program. The list of qualifying government assistance programs varies from state to state (so be sure to check your state’s specific criteria), but you most likely qualify for Assurance Wireless under government assistance based criteria if you participate in one or more of the following programs: Food Stamps/SNAP, Social Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, or Section 8. Please check your state’s list of qualifying government assistance programs for a more thorough list of programs.
If you or your family does not participate in a qualifying government assistance program, you may still qualify under income based guidelines.
Income Based Eligibility
Under income based eligibility criteria, you most likely qualify for Assurance Wireless service if your total household income is at or below 135% to 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Most states use 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, but Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas all use the 150% federal poverty level guideline.
In the table below, you will find the calculated 135% values for the 2012 Federal Poverty Guidelines. In order to determine the 150% values of the figures below simply multiply the number by 1.11.
States and D.C.
|For each additional
The Federal Poverty Guidelines are updated on an annual basis and vary from state to state. So it is best to check your state’s eligibility requirements before applying to Assurance Wireless.
If you qualify for Assurance Wireless under income based eligibility criteria most states will require that you provide some form of documentation to prove your total household income. Usually one of the following forms of written proof is sufficient for proving your total household income: last year’s state or federal income tax return or three consecutive months of your most current pay stubs, Social Security benefit statements, Veteran Administration benefits statements, retirement benefits statement, divorce decree or child support document, or unemployment/workers Compensation benefits statement.
Please note that Assurance Wireless requires written documentation of your total household income. So if more than one person in your household earns an income, you must include their income documentation in your application in addition to your own.
If you qualify for Assurance Wireless under government assistance eligibility, most states do not require written documentation of your participation in the government program. Rather, you must swear under penalty of perjury that you receive government assistance. If you are caught lying, you may face a fine and even jail time.
It is important that you read your state’s Assurance Wireless application instructions carefully. If the application requires supporting documentation and you do not provide it, your application will be rejected.
If you have met all of the requirements above, you are almost done with qualifying for Assurance Wireless service. The last requirements are that you must apply from a residential mailing address and only one Lifeline phone is allowed per address.
Assurance Wireless will not mail cell phones to a post office box. Sadly, there is no way around is requirement.
If you live in a household that already has a Lifeline cell phone or a Lifeline landline from Assurance Wireless or any other telecom provider, you do not qualify for an Assurance Wireless phone. This is true even if the person living at your address is not a family member or you live at a shelter with hundreds of other people who would otherwise qualify for Assurance Wireless service. If one person at the address has a Lifeline phone, no one else can qualify from the same address.
If someone living at your address has a Lifeline cell phone or Lifeline landline, they will have to cancel their service before you can apply for Assurance Wireless service.
If you are ready to see if you qualify for Assurance Wireless service, please visit our state eligibility page by clicking the link below:
Are you currently a Assurance Wireless customer? Please share your Assurance Wireless experience with the community. Please click the link to our Assurance Wireless review page below:
If you meet all of the requirements set out above, you can download an Assurance Wireless application and submit it by mail or FAX to the address stated in the application.
P.O. Box 686
Parsippany, NJ 07054