Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone 2024

Verizon Wireless offers a free government phone program through the Lifeline Assistance initiative. Eligible low-income individuals and families can get a free smartphone, monthly data, talk and text from Verizon at no cost. This guide covers eligibility criteria, how to apply, and the affordable plans and devices available through Verizon’s Lifeline free government phone program.

Verizon Wireless, one of the leading cellular carriers in the United States, participates in the Lifeline program by offering free government phones and discounted wireless plans to qualifying customers. This initiative aims to bridge the digital divide and ensure that everyone has access to vital communication tools, regardless of their financial circumstances.

What is Lifeline?

Lifeline is a federal government assistance program that provides discounted communication services to low-income households. It is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The Lifeline program allows eligible subscribers to receive free or heavily discounted services for:

  • Free smartphone or basic cell phone
  • Home or mobile internet service
  • Home phone service

The goal of Lifeline is to help make communication services more affordable for households struggling to pay bills each month. It aims to ensure all Americans can connect to job opportunities, education resources, health care services, and emergency personnel by subsidizing phone and internet costs.

To qualify for Lifeline benefits, consumers must either have an income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or participate in approved federal assistance programs like Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone Program

Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone

Verizon Wireless participates in the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Assistance program, also known as the free government phone program. Through this initiative, eligible low-income households can receive free cell phone service and a free smartphone from Verizon.

The Verizon free government phone program provides qualified participants with:

  • Free Smartphone: Verizon offers a selection of free smartphone models that are 3G and 4G LTE compatible. Options may include entry-level Android devices from brands like Samsung, Motorola, and others.
  • Free Monthly Service: Approved customers get free monthly talk, text, and data service through Verizon’s Lifeline plans. Typical plans include unlimited domestic calling and texting plus a fixed data allowance (e.g. 3GB, 4.5GB) each month.
  • No Annual Contract: The free Lifeline service has no annual contract required. It’s a perpetual monthly benefit as long as you remain eligible.

Households must meet the Lifeline income requirements (≤135% of the federal poverty level) or already participate in assistance programs like Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, etc. Only one Lifeline benefit is permitted per household.

By participating, Verizon enables low-income Americans to have reliable cellular access for job searches, emergency communications, telemedicine, education resources and more – all at no monthly cost through the Lifeline Assistance program.

Verizon Free Government Cell Phones

As part of the federal Lifeline Assistance program, Verizon Wireless provides free government cell phones and discounted monthly service plans to eligible low-income households. This initiative helps ensure affordable access to vital communication services.

Verizon offers a rotating selection of free smartphone models to approved Lifeline subscribers. While the exact devices can change over time, they are typically affordable Android smartphones from brands like:

  • Samsung: Samsung is a leading global manufacturer of smartphones, TVs, and electronics. Their free government phone models offer a reliable Android experience with features like high-resolution displays, decent cameras, and solid performance for basic tasks.
  • Motorola: Once an iconic pioneer of mobile phones, Motorola now focuses on affordable yet capable Android smartphones. Their free models emphasize long battery life, clean software, and durable construction ideal for those on a budget.
  • LG: LG electronics is known for their sleek phone designs and multimedia prowess. Free LG phones from Verizon bring large displays, loud speakers, and capable cameras to capture important moments without breaking the bank.
  • Kyocera: Kyocera specializes in rugged, water-resistant phones made to withstand tough conditions. Their free models prioritize durability with rubber exteriors and basic calling/texting functions suitable for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • TCL: As a relative newcomer, TCL brings affordable unlocked phones to the US market. Free TCL models offer large screen sizes, multi-lens camera systems, and respectable performance for the price point.

The free phones are pre-owned or recertified models, but they meet Verizon’s quality standards. They are 4G LTE and sometimes 5G compatible to provide fast, reliable data speeds on Verizon’s nationwide network.

Some recent  free Verizon Lifeline phones include:

  • Samsung Galaxy A10e: The Galaxy A10e is an affordable Android phone that packs a fair amount of features for a free device. It has a bright 5.83-inch display, 32GB of storage, and an 8MP rear camera capable of decent photos. The 3,000mAh battery allows for all-day usage, and the simple Samsung interface is easy to navigate. While not blazing fast, the A10e covers smartphone basics well for light users.
  • Motorola Moto G7 Play: Motorola’s G7 Play hits the sweet spot between price and capability. It includes a sharp 5.7-inch display, water-repellent design, and snappy performance from the Snapdragon 632 chipset. The 13MP camera takes reliably good photos, and the 3,000mAh battery stretches for up to 40 hours per charge. Moto’s minimal Android skin also feels smooth and responsive.
  • LG Revvl 4: LG crams quite a bit of value into the Revvl 4 for a free phone. Highlights include its large 6.26-inch HD+ display, dual rear cameras, and roomy 3,500mAh battery. It also has a dedicated Google Assistant button and can accept microSD cards for expanded storage. While not top-of-the-line, the Revvl 4 is a capable multimedia device for gaming and media consumption.
  • TCL A1: TCL may be new to smartphone manufacturing, but the A1 shows their potential. This budget phone features a sleek design highlighted by a 5.5-inch LCD with ultra-thin bezels. It has an 8MP rear shooter with digital zoom plus a 5MP selfie camera. With a quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, and expandable storage, the A1 delivers acceptable performance for basic apps and web browsing.

The capabilities of the free smartphones may be modest, but they provide the essential features most users need like a touchscreen, camera, calling, texting, mobile hotspot and common apps.

Free Service Plans 

Along with the free phone, approved Lifeline customers get a government-subsidized free monthly service plan from Verizon. Typical plan benefits include:

  • Unlimited domestic voice calling
  • Unlimited domestic text messaging
  • 3GB – 5GB monthly 4G LTE/5G data
  • Mobile hotspot usage
  • Call waiting, voicemail, caller ID

The exact data allowance and features can vary slightly by state. Additional data is available at discounted rates if needed.

There are no long-term contracts required and no monthly fees for the Lifeline service itself. Customers only pay applicable taxes and fees, which are heavily discounted.

How to Apply for Verizon Lifeline Service

Applying for Verizon’s Lifeline program is a straightforward process, but you’ll need to provide proof of eligibility. Follow these steps:

  1. Check Eligibility: First, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for Verizon’s Lifeline program. You must either have a household income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, or you must participate in one of the following assistance programs:
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  1. Gather Required Documents: You’ll need to provide proof of income or proof that you’re enrolled in a qualifying assistance program. Acceptable documents include:
  • Last year’s federal or state tax return
  • Current pay stubs or income statements
  • Benefit award letters or statements
  • Other official documents showing eligibility
  1. Visit a Verizon Store or Apply Online You can apply in person at a Verizon retail store. Bring your proof of eligibility documents with you. Alternatively, you can apply online through Verizon’s Lifeline website at
  2. Complete the Application Whether applying in-store or online, you’ll need to fully complete Verizon’s Lifeline application. You’ll be asked to provide personal information, address, date of birth, and details about your household and dependents.
  3. Submit Proof Documents With your application, submit clear copies of the eligibility documents you’ve gathered, like tax returns, pay stubs or benefit statements.
  4. Await Application Approval Verizon will review your application and documents to verify your eligibility. This process can take several days or weeks. You’ll be notified once your application has been approved or denied.
  5. Select Your Lifeline Plan If approved, you’ll be able to select the free or discounted Lifeline cell phone plan you want from Verizon’s available options in your state. This typically includes a free smartphone and a set data allowance each month.

By completing the application thoroughly and providing valid eligibility documentation upfront, you can help ensure the Lifeline approval process goes smoothly with Verizon. Customer service representatives are also available to assist with any questions.

Verizon Lifeline Plan Availability

As a participating provider in the federal Lifeline program, Verizon offers discounted wireless plans and free smartphones to eligible low-income customers across many states. However, it’s important to note that Lifeline plan availability can vary depending on your specific location.

States Where Verizon Lifeline Plans are Available: Verizon currently provides Lifeline plans in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

In these states, eligible low-income residents can apply for free smartphones and discounted voice and data plans through Verizon’s Lifeline program offerings.

States Without Verizon Lifeline at This Time: There are currently a few states where Verizon does not offer Lifeline plans, including:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • New Hampshire

In these areas, eligible customers would need to select a different participating Lifeline provider for discounted communication services.

It’s always recommended to check the latest plan availability information directly with Verizon, as their Lifeline program coverage can change over time. Eligibility criteria and plan details may also vary slightly between states.

Verizon Lifeline is available, potential subscribers can determine if they qualify for free phones and discounted wireless plans in their area through this government assistance program.

How to Use Your Verizon Lifeline Service

Getting approved for Verizon’s Lifeline program provides you with an affordable way to stay connected. Here are some tips on using your new free smartphone and monthly service:

Activating Your Free Phone: When you sign up for Lifeline, you’ll select a free smartphone model compatible with Verizon’s network. Once you receive the device, you’ll need to:

  • Insert the provided Verizon SIM card
  • Power on the phone and complete the setup process
  • Call #622 or visit a Verizon store to activate your Lifeline plan

Be sure to have your account information handy to associate the phone with your approved Lifeline benefits.

Using Plan Services: With your Verizon Lifeline plan activated, you’ll have access to monthly services at no charge, typically including:

  • Unlimited domestic voice minutes for calling
  • Unlimited domestic text/picture/video messaging
  • A set data allowance (e.g. 3GB, 4.5GB, varies)
  • Mobile hotspot capability to connect other devices

Be mindful of your high-speed data limits to avoid overage charges. You can check remaining usage through the My Verizon app. Unused data does not roll over month-to-month.

Finding Affordable Data: If you need more than the included data, Verizon offers affordable pay-per-use options like:

  • $5 for 500MB of data valid for 30 days
  • $10 for 1GB of data valid for 30 days
  • $20 for 3GB of data valid for 90 days

This allows you to temporarily boost your data bucket as needed without a recurring monthly charge.

Managing Your Account: Download the My Verizon app or log into your online account to:

  • View usage and charges
  • Make one-time data purchases
  • Update personal info
  • Browse affordable plan upgrades

And be sure to renew your Lifeline benefits annually by verifying eligibility to avoid service interruptions.

With a little familiarity, you can take full advantage of having an LTE-enabled smartphone and generous talk/text/data through Verizon’s government Lifeline Assistance program.

Lifeline Program Changes in 2024

The Lifeline Assistance program, which provides discounted communication services to low-income households, may see some significant updates in 2024 aimed at modernizing the initiative. While details are still being finalized, here are some potential changes on the horizon:

  • Increased Minimum Data Allotments: One expected change is an increase to the minimum monthly data allowance that Lifeline providers like Verizon must offer. The current baseline of 3GB per month may be raised to 6GB or 8GB to better accommodate modern data needs for applications, remote learning, job searching and more.
  • Expanded Broadband Access: In addition to mobile data, the Lifeline program could place a greater emphasis on providing discounted home broadband internet service in 2024. This would help ensure households have an affordable option for high-speed connectivity for schoolwork, job applications and telehealth services.
  • Streamlined Eligibility Verification: The approval process for Lifeline may be further streamlined through better data sharing between qualifying federal assistance programs like SNAP and Medicaid. This could reduce documentation requirements and make eligibility easier to verify.
  • Minimum Service Standards: To promote a consistent level of service, the FCC may institute new minimum standards that participating Lifeline providers must meet in terms of network performance, customer service responsiveness, device support and more.
  • Lifeline for Connected Devices: Another potential change could be extending Lifeline subsidies to cover other connected devices beyond just mobile phones and home internet. This could help make tablets, laptops or wearables more affordable for eligible households.

These potential Lifeline changes for 2024 aim to keep the program modern and relevant as communication technology and user needs evolve. Increased data capabilities, streamlined access, higher service standards and support for additional connected devices could substantially improve digital equity.

Of course, any official 2024 updates will be contingent on FCC review and approval over the next year. But these rumored enhancements showcase an ongoing commitment to making essential communication services accessible to all income levels.

Other Lifeline Providers to Consider

While Verizon is a major participant in the federal Lifeline Assistance program, they are not the only option available. Depending on your location and specific needs, these alternative Lifeline providers may be worth exploring:

  • AT&T Lifeline: As one of the three nationwide carriers, AT&T provides Lifeline discounts on their postpaid wireless plans in over 20 states. Benefits can include a free smartphone, unlimited talk/text, and set data allotments. AT&T may be ideal if you prioritize their network coverage.
  • T-Mobile Lifeline: T-Mobile’s Lifeline service is available in most states and even Puerto Rico. They offer free 4G/5G Android smartphones plus free monthly talk, text and data through their Access plan. T-Mobile touts fast 5G performance in many areas.
  • Assurance Wireless: Run by Virgin Mobile, Assurance is one of the most widely available Lifeline providers through their “Lifeline Assistance” free phone service. You get a free Android device, unlimited texts/calls and a set monthly data bucket which varies by state.
  • StandUp Wireless: StandUp is an approved Lifeline provider offering free phone service and a free 4G smartphone in over 20 states currently. Plans include unlimited talk/text and a decent data allowance of 10GB for most customers.
  • SafeLink Wireless: Powered by the TracFone network, SafeLink runs its “Free Smartphone + Data. Talk & Text” Lifeline program in many states. Benefits may include a free smartphone, unlimited calls/texts and up to 8GB of monthly data depending on eligibility.

While Verizon has strong brand recognition, reviewing all approved Lifeline carriers in your state can ensure you select the best possible free phone and service plan for your individual needs and usage. Many leverage the same underlying networks as major postpaid services.

Getting Help with Verizon Lifeline

While Verizon’s Lifeline offering provides an affordable way for eligible households to stay connected, you may need some assistance along the way. Here are some options for getting help:

Contact Verizon Customer Service: Verizon has dedicated customer service for their Lifeline program that you can reach out to with any questions or issues:

  • Call 1-800-LIFELINE (1-800-543-3546)
  • Go to and click ‘Contact Us’
  • Visit your local Verizon retail store

Their Lifeline customer care agents can guide you through eligibility requirements, walk you through the application process, troubleshoot service problems, and more.

Check Online Support Resources: Verizon also provides some helpful online resources related to their Lifeline service:

  • Detailed eligibility criteria and required documentation
  • Frequently Asked Questions for common inquiries
  • Instructions for activating devices and managing your account
  • Videos explaining Lifeline features and benefits

These self-help materials can provide clarity and allow you to find answers quickly.

Ask About Accessibility Options: If you have a disability, impairment or unique accessibility needs, inquire about Verizon’s offerings in these areas, such as:

  • Phones and accessories designed for the hard of hearing/visually impaired
  • Applications to further customize your wireless experience
  • Dedicated support resources for customers with disabilities

Don’t hesitate to ask a Verizon rep how they can accommodate your specific situation.

There may be local nonprofit organizations or community groups in your area that can assist with the Lifeline application process and explaining program details. They often have partnerships to help get eligible households enrolled.

Getting the right help upfront can ensure you fully understand and take advantage of all that Verizon’s Lifeline service has to offer for free communication access.

Here are some FAQs About the Verizon wireless free government phone

How long does the Verizon Lifeline application approval process typically take?

The approval process can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks after submitting your application and eligibility documentation. Verizon must verify your household qualifies before you can select a free phone and activate Lifeline service.

Are there any data speed restrictions on Verizon’s free Lifeline data plans?

No, the free monthly data provided does not have reduced speeds. You’ll get full access to Verizon’s 4G LTE and 5G data networks up to the high-speed allotment included in your plan.

Can I send/receive picture messages for free with my Verizon Lifeline plan?

Yes, picture/video messaging is included for free along with unlimited text messaging on Verizon Lifeline plans. Just be aware that larger media files will count against your high-speed data bucket.

How do I update my address if I move after getting Lifeline service?

You can update your address through the My Verizon app, by calling customer service, or visiting a retail store. This ensures you maintain Lifeline eligibility in your new area.

What Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi calling capabilities do the free phones have?

Most of Verizon’s free smartphone options support VoLTE for enhanced voice call quality, as well as Wi-Fi calling to make/receive calls over internet instead of the cell network.

Is there a way to temporarily increase my Lifeline data for a month?

Yes, Verizon offers affordable pay-per-use data passes like $5 for 500MB or $10 for 1GB of extra high-speed data for 30 days to complement your plan’s data allotment.

Does mobile hotspot usage count against my Lifeline data allowance?

Yes, any data used by turning your phone into a mobile hotspot pulls from your monthly 4G LTE/5G data bucket just like other smartphone data usage.

How can I check my remaining high-speed data for the month?

Install the My Verizon app and log into your account. Under the “Data Hub” you can see your current data cycle usage and balance.

Will my Lifeline benefits renew automatically each year?

No, you must manually re-qualify and renew your Verizon Lifeline service annually by providing updated documentation to prove your household still meets eligibility criteria.

What if my free Lifeline phone gets lost, damaged or stolen?

Contact Verizon Lifeline support. In some cases, you may be able to get a low-cost replacement device. Alternately, you may have to re-apply for the program to get a new free phone.