How to Get Free 5G Government Phones: A Complete Guide

This information is current as of June 12, 2022.

Do you participate in SNAP, Public Housing, Medicaid, or another government-assistance program? Or are you a low-income American? You might qualify for a free 5G government phone!

How to get free 5G government phones

You can get one of these 5G government phones by being eligible for and applying for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) or Lifeline. Then, you’ll have to choose a company that offers a free phone with their ACP/Lifeline plan. Voila – you’ve now got a free 5G phone and monthly plan covered by the government. 

Let’s dive into each step so you can get your new phone today.

Getting Your Free 5G Government Phone

How to get free 5G government phones starts with checking your eligibility. Then, you’ll apply for Lifeline and/or ACP.

Once approved, you’ll be able to choose your phone company, sign up for your free or reduced plan, and get your new phone.

1.    Check Your Eligibility

You must qualify for ACP or Lifeline to get a free 5G government phone. Some phone companies may require you to participate in both. Check your eligibility below.

Lifeline Requirements

You can qualify for Lifeline in two ways: income or participation in another government program.

Your income must be 135% or less of the federal poverty standard. This amount depends on how many people are in your household and which state you live in. Below are the maximum income amounts you can make per year to receive Lifeline. Check your state’s poverty guidelines which may be slightly different – especially for those in Alaska or Hawaii.

Household Size135% of the Federal Poverty Line
4+See here  

Another way to qualify for Lifeline is if you or your dependent participate in another government-assistance program. These programs already have low-income requirements, so if you participate in them, Lifeline knows you are also eligible for their program via income or other circumstances.

These programs are:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit

Specific Tribal Assistance programs are also acceptable:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Head Start
  • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

ACP Requirements

Your household must make 200% or less of the federal poverty standard to qualify for ACP. Alternatively, you could meet one of the other criteria for the program.

Below are the amounts you must make (or less) to qualify for ACP based on income. Alaska and Hawaii have different amounts, so double-check with your state before applying.

Household Size200% of the Federal Poverty Line
4+See here

If you meet one of these criteria, you are also eligible:

  • Received a Pell Grant that year
  • Meet your provider’s criteria
  • Participate in a government-assistance program
  • Have Lifeline

2.    Apply for ACP or Lifeline

If you’re eligible, it’s time to apply for ACP or Lifeline. For many phone companies, if you already have Lifeline, you won’t need to apply for ACP. You can contact your company directly, and they should be able to sign you up for ACP benefits right there on the phone.

Applying for ACP

There are three ways to apply for ACP: online, by mail, or through your current internet provider. To apply online, create an account and complete the application. By applying online, you could receive immediate approval.  

To apply by mail, you will need to print out the application and household worksheet, fill out both forms, then mail both forms along with proof documentation to:

ACP Support Center

PO Box 7081

London, KY 40742

You can print the application in English or Spanish. Be sure to read the instructions on how to fill out the application. You can also print the household worksheet in English or Spanish with specific instructions.

Your current internet provider may already participate in the ACP program and can help you apply. The best way to find out is to call them. If they are ACP participants, you should be able to apply through their company’s application process online or via phone. You may also get to keep your current plan while receiving the ACP monthly benefits.

For each ACP application, you must provide personal data such as your name, date of birth, and address. You will also need to provide proof documentation to verify your ID. ID can be your social security number, tribal ID number, driver’s license, passport, or military ID.

Finally, be prepared to prove that you qualify for ACP. This can be through proof of income such as:

  • A tax return
  • Three consecutive pay stubs, or
  • Proof that you are already enrolled in a government assistance program through a copy of an official government letter

Applying for Lifeline

There are also three methods to apply for Lifeline: online, by mail, or through a phone or internet company. To apply online, create an account and begin the application.

To apply via mail, print out the Lifeline application, fill it out and send it with copies of proof documentation to:

USAC Lifeline Support Center

PO Box 7081

London, KY 40742

To print the application in English, click here. There is also a Spanish version.

To see if your current phone and internet provider participates in Lifeline, call the company and ask a representative. If they do, they can assist you with the application and may even have their own application process on their website. As with ACP, you may also be able to keep your same plan while receiving Lifeline benefits.

Have your personal information ready, including your address, date of birth, and full name. You will also have to verify your identity with a social security number, tribal ID number, driver’s license, passport, or military ID.

If you are eligible for Lifeline through your income, you must show either a tax return or three pay stubs in a row. Suppose you are qualified through a government assistance program. In that case, you must show documentation such as an official letter verifying your participation. If sending your application in by mail, only send copies of official documents, never the originals.

3.    Choose Your Company

Once you know you are eligible for free phone and phone plan benefits, you can choose your company. If your current provider partnered with ACP and Lifeline, you might have already done this in step #2.

If not, you can consider StandUp Wireless, SafeLink, Assurance Wireless, or Cintex Wireless. These reputable companies offer a free government phone with your service and partner with ACP and Lifeline. It’s important to note that not all companies service every state.

StandUp Wireless

Here at StandUp Wireless, we make getting your free phone and service easy. With your Lifeline and ACP benefits, you can get 10GB of high-speed data on both 4G and 5G networks, unlimited talk, text, and data, and nationwide coverage with your free phone.

Begin your application for benefits straight from our website, and, once approved, your new smartphone will be delivered right to your door via mail. Call us once you have it, and we’ll activate your service that same day.

4.    Enjoy Your New Phone!

Once you confirm your phone company and plan, you should be able to receive your new phone either in person or via mail. Activate and charge it upon receipt, and you’re ready to go!

Types of 5G Free Phones

The type of 5G phone you’ll receive depends on the company. These could be any model from big name brands like:

  • Apple
  • Samsung
  • Motorola
  • Xiaomi
  • Lenovo
  • LG
  • And more…


Here are the top questions and answers around free 5G government phones.

What’s the Difference Between 4G and 5G?

The main difference between 4G and 5G is speed. 4G service can currently reach speeds of up to 100 Mbps, though it usually averages speeds of 35 Mbps. 5G can be 100 times faster than 4G at its top speed.

Why the significant change? Well, the cellular infrastructure that supports wireless communication is updated every 10 years, allowing faster connections with each upgrade. 4G still dominates most of the US, but 5G is slowly replacing it.

Can I Use a 4G Phone on a 5G Network?

You can still use your 4G phone on a 5G network. You just won’t be able to use the faster speeds of the 5G network. 5G is not an entirely new network, just an upgrade to the 4G network, so your 4G phone will still work fine.

Which Companies Give Free Government Phones?

Some companies that offer free government phones through the ACP/ Lifeline programs are:

  • StandUp Wireless
  • Access Wireless
  • American Assistance
  • Assurance Wireless
  • Cintex Wireless
  • EnTouch
  • Life Wireless
  • SafeLink Wireless
  • QLink Wireless
  • Tag Mobile
  • Terracom Wireless
  • True Wireless
  • Wireless for Hope (Easy Wireless)

Not all of these companies are available in every state.

Can I Use My Free Phone With Another Company?

You can use your free phone with another company, but some companies only let you switch after you’ve had service with them for 60 days. To keep receiving the benefits, the company you switch to must also partner with ACP or Lifeline and offer a “bring your own phone” option.

Are ACP/Lifeline Benefits Paid to Me or the Phone Company?

The monthly discount benefits through ACP/ Lifeline are paid directly to the phone company to take care of your monthly bill. The remainder will be forfeited if the bill is less than your benefit. If the bill is larger than your benefit, you will be responsible for paying the difference out of pocket.

How Many Free Government Phones Can One Family Get?

Only one free government phone is allowed per household. A household is any group of people living together who share money, expenses, etc. A good rule of thumb is to think about who you share bills or file taxes with (spouses, dependents, etc.).

The Bottom Line

Free 5G government phones are available from some companies for those eligible for ACP or Lifeline. These companies include StandUp Wireless, SafeLink, Assurance Wireless, and Cintex Wireless.

Not all companies offer services of 5G phones in every state. Reach out to your local ACP/Lifeline partner companies to ask about what phones they’re offering today.

To get your free phone, qualify and apply for ACP and/or Lifeline, then sign up for the free phone plan with your selected phone company.

Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service

Are you looking for assistance with your wireless phone service? Did you know that if you qualify for programs like SNAP, you may also be eligible for Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)? Both Lifeline and ACP are government programs that help low-income consumers receive free or heavily discounted communication services.

Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.

Get a Tablet for $10.01

Now for a limited time, get an 8″ tablet for just $10.01 when you qualify and sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Once you’re approved for the program, you’ll receive a separate email to unlock your one-time discount on a brand-new tablet.

Click here to get started!

Save Even More With Recommended Resources and Amazon Deals

Looking to save on additional items for you and your family? Check out our Recommended Resources page. For example, you can learn how to save 50% on Amazon Prime membership and use your EBT card.