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The 5 Best Lifeline Cellphone Providers in California 2021

California residents can now enjoy lifeline assistance from different service providers. The Federal Government contracts these service providers to offer free government phones to those who cannot afford it. Before you submit your application, you have to make sure that you are eligible for the Lifeline Assistance program.

Below is a list of the best California lifeline cell phone providers and what plans they have to offer. Read on.

What qualifications do you need to get a lifeline service in California?

Lifeline Cellphone Providers in California

There are two ways to fill your requirements to qualify you for the lifeline program and gain a free cellphone with free monthly plans. The first one includes participating in some selected public assistance programs, and the second one involves your monthly income.

Step 1: Qualification Criteria

State governments run several assistance programs for struggling families to get the emergency supply no matter what. If you or any family member participates in one of the following programs, you’ll be qualified to implement for the lifeline program.

  • CalFresh, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Food Stamps
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Medicaid/Medi-Cal
  • Healthy Families Category A
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) and California Work Opportunity
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
  • Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
  • National School Lunch Program (NSL)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Responsibility to Kids (Stan Works) and Stanislaus County Work Opportunity
  • Tribal TANF
  • Welfare-to-Work (WTW)Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Veterans & Survivor Benefits
  • Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal Only)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

Step 2: Qualification Criteria

The governments of several states have set income limits for households, and you can change if your income is below that limit.

  • For a family with two people, the maximum benefits should be $17,240 for free cellphone services. If the family has more members, the limit will develop by $4,480 per person.

Now, let’s discuss how you can apply and receive the lifeline phone service from one of the most desirable California lifeline cell phone providers in California. If you want to call Verizon wireless free government phone or AT&T wireless free government cellphone, the conditions for qualification will be the same.

1. Access Wireless Lifeline Cellphone Provider

If you are in California and you need a lifeline cellphone provider, then you should check out Access Wireless. They have good coverage not only in the state of California but also throughout different American states. Some of the privileges you get to enjoy as a customer includes:

  • Free government phones
  • 1000 minutes call time
  • 200MB of data
  • Unlimited texts
  • Free 50 MB data each month


To qualify for an Access Wireless plan, then you must have prior participation in different government programs. Alternatively, your general household income should be within a certain percentage of the Federal Poverty Limits or Guidelines. In California, it ranges from 140-150%. Those qualifying get to enjoy crazy offers on top-ups and upgrades. The Access Wireless have lots more compatible phones.

2. Assurance Wireless Lifeline Cellphone Provider

Assurance Wireless is a brand of Nextel Company and operates in most states across America, including California. To attract participants to their free government phones program, residents are given great plans if they qualify. Some of the plans Assurance Wireless offers its customers are:

  • Free android smartphone
  • Unlimited minutes (Freedom Plan)
  • Unlimited texts
  • 2GB data

You get all these at no extra cost. Unbelievable, right! In addition to that, you can subscribe to the assurance top-up plan to get more convenient offers like the option of topping up or adding money to your account through either PayPal or from your debit/credit card. You can also make international calls at a fee on these plans subject to the terms and conditions.


To qualify for free government phones and plans on Assurance Wireless, you have to submit your Household income data. They have to crosscheck if they meet certain federal guidelines. In addition to that, you must have had prior participation in programs like SNAP (Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program), Veteran Pension and Survivors Benefits and Federal Public Housing Assistance, among other programs. California residents can submit their applications online or call helpline numbers on the lifeline provider’s website.

3. EnTouch Wireless Lifeline Cellphone Providers

EnTouch Wireless is a subsidiary of Boomerang Wireless and is an active participant in the lifeline assistance program. It operates in more than 20 states, among them being California. Residents get to choose and enjoy two plans in this program. Here is a breakdown of the two plans;

Non-tribal plan

  • Unlimited talk and texts
  • Free cellphone
  • 500MB of data every month

Tribal plan

  • Unlimited text and talk time
  • 4GB of monthly data

A glance at the two plans, it is evident that customers on the Non-tribal plan get a good deal.


To qualify, you must submit your applications to the service provider and attach all your household income data or records. If you participated in government programs like Medicaid and Supplementary Security Income. You have to avail proof of membership in your application for a free government phone under this program.

Safelink provides its lifeline customers with some of the best free government smartphones compared to other similar providers. They have a presence in over 40 states, which is a big achievement. California residents can apply for free services, in addition to a new phone. Some of the features customers should expect in the California plan include;

  • Free cell phone
  • Caller ID
  • Unlimited internet
  • Unlimited text and voice call time
  • Free 911 and 411 calling and access
  • Voicemail

The list goes on and on. This plan is better than what Safelink offers its customers in other states. So why the disparity? Well, it’s because the California State pays additional subsidies that other states don’t.  This is why the residents of California get more of everything compared to other states in America.

More importantly, in case you need more minutes on your plan, you can purchase a TracFone airtime card at any Walmart and Wall green stores. Also, you can read about Safelink Wireless Compatible Phones.


The eligibility is the same as the other service providers above.

5. SafetyNet Wireless Lifeline Cellphone Providers

California residents can now access lifeline services on Safetynet. They now offer various plans for qualifying residents. The plan includes;

California Unlimited Plan

  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Free government phone
  • 5 GB of data


You also have the choice of bringing your device and accessing all those features above absolutely free of charge.  You will be provided with a Sim card on the spot together with the configurations, after that you can enjoy the features of your plan.


Same as similar service providers above.

Additional information

Some customers are still unsure if they can apply for more than one free government phone or switch service providers. Here are the answers to your questions.

Can you apply for more than one phone per service provider?

No, you can’t. There is a strict policy on one cellphone per household. If you had applied for a cell phone from a particular service provider, then you are not eligible to apply for another phone from a different service provider. You cannot have free government phones from multiple service providers.

Can you switch service providers?

Yes, you can. If you are not content with the features of the plan you are on, then you can opt to switch service providers. This is also referred to as a Benefits Transfer, which happens at the express request of the subscriber. Once that switch is complete, services from your old service provider will be deactivated. Legally, you are supposed to have only one lifeline service provider per household.

How do I renew my Lifeline in California?

The method of renewing your lifeline service in California is straightforward and includes calling the California Lifeline Administrator utilizing your lifeline phone number.

For your renew, Your Lifeline in California, you need some documentation such that your Identification Number (PIN) is printed on the first page of your California LifeLine application or renewal form. Type your PIN below.

Also, type the Applicant’s Phone Number below for which you would like to receive the California LifeLine discounts. If there is no Applicant’s Phone Number printed on your form, type the Enrollment Code instead. The Enrollment Code is


If you meet the eligibility criteria, you should sign up for a free government smartphone with any of the above service providers in California, and enjoy some of the features they have to offer to their customers. We hope you make the right choice.

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