Lifeline: A Free Government Cell Phone Assistance Program

Dealing with the aftermath of a cancer diagnosis can mean many financial hardships. With medical bills that pile up, having everyday luxuries (that feel like necessities) such as internet or a cell phone can become too costly. Did you know you could be eligible for a government assistance program that lowers the overall cost of your cell phone or internet bill? If you qualify for this program, you could be saving at least $9.25 on your monthly bill, up to $34.25 depending on the program!

So, What Is Lifeline?

Lifeline is a federal program, available in all U.S. states, that lowers the monthly cost of your phone or internet. You can find a company near you or reach out to your service provider to see if they offer a Lifeline service. You are only allowed to get one Lifeline discount (phone or internet, but not both) per household.

How Do I Qualify?

You can get Lifeline if your income is 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines. The guideline is based on your household size and state. You qualify for Lifeline if you (or someone in your household) participates in one of these federal assistance programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Tribal Programs (and live on federally-recognized Tribal lands)

Show a card, letter, or official document, as proof that you participate in one of these programs when you apply for Lifeline.

What type of services can I get?

The service provider that offers you Lifeline is required to meet these standards:

  • For cell phones: At least 750 minutes
  • For mobile internet (a data plan): Speed of 3G or better and usage of at least 1 GB per month
  • For fixed broadband: Speed of 15/2 Mbps and usage of at least 250 GB per month

How can I apply?

Visit this page to start the application process towards receiving a Lifeline-supported service.

More Help

If you’re still struggling financially, you can visit Triage Cancer’s Financial Resources page or www.CancerFinances.org for additional help.

Samantha Skelton
ss@triagecancer.org