How to Get Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone

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Verizon is one of the best cell phone services here in the US. A lot of people are usually unable to afford it due to high prices. But there’s a way how to get Verizon Wireless free government phone if you’re on a low or no income.

Personally, I didn’t know Verizon still has a free government phone from the government. Yes, I knew the company has been offering the affordable connectivity program (ACP) since the COVID-19 pandemic. But the FCC announced early this year the ACP is winding down, with April 2024 as the last month fully funded.

In any case, Verizon still has one remaining program of free government phone. In this guide, we’ll break down this low-income phone program, including how to apply, qualify, and what you get.

Verdict: 5 Crucial Things About Verizon Free Government Phone Discount

  • The Verizon free government phone is available through Lifeline
  • The Verizon free government phone covers wireless and home service
  • The Verizon free government phone has up to unlimited talking & texting
  • The Verizon free government phone is available in limited states & areas
  • The Verizon free government phone does not include mobile data to browse

Verizon as a Major Carrier of Phone Service

As you may already know, Verizon is one of the Big Three phone providers or Major Carriers in the country. What this means is that Verizon has its own towers to distribute the cellular service to its subscribers.

As the owner of the cell towers, Verizon usually prioritizes its customers before resellers on its network. Hence, the reason we see in the Visible vs Verizon reviewsthose with the Major Carrier achieve almost ten times faster data speeds than its MVNO.

In that comparison review, we also see Verizon has free subscriptions to Disney, Apple Music Family, Walmart+, Apple One, etc. Then again, these many perks also require you to pay a little more per month for your cell phone plans.

The high cost of Verizon phone plans means many people won’t be able to afford their monthly bills. But, of course, affordability has never been an issue for consumers who knew about the Verizon Wireless free government phone discount.

If you have been following us on Etechzones, you know free government phone deals are nothing new. What we can say has been new are the programs with the deals, with the ACP being the most recent one.

Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone with ACP

ACP or affordable connectivity program is a broadband benefit the government created to help low-income consumers afford internet service. The program launched at the end of 2021 as a longer-term replacement for the emergency broadband benefit (EBB).

At this time of EBB, Verizon was one of the few phone carriers to record thousands of applications in the first month. And those approved would wind up paying as low as $5 or $0/ month on the expensive Mix & Match plans.

Unfortunately, EBB was a temporary broadband program with a small budget of $3.2 billion. So, after a few months, the government appropriated funds to create a longer-term replacement broadband benefit, ACP.

How to Get Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone
Get Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone

Unlike T-Mobile, Verizon continued to give free government phone discounts with ACP. However, the discounts this time have been slightly smaller, amounting to $30 (instead of $50). It’s only the consumers on tribal lands still get a $75 discount, as they did at the time of EBB.

Over the years, the Verizon Wireless free government phone discount with ACP has been on both postpaid and prepaid plans. The Verizon prepaid phone plans are usually slightly cheaper than the postpaid category, thereby also leaving you to pay less.

If on tribal lands, though, I’ve seen some people get free Verizon cell phone service, including on postpaid plans. The ACP discount on tribal lands is $75/ month, after all.

The End of Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone with ACP

As I briefly mentioned, the FCC has already announced the end of the ACP program in April 2024. The government agency closed the door for new enrollments early in February.

When applying ACP with any provider in the last few weeks, you must be already approved with another carrier. Then, you would now be able to transfer your ACP benefit to Verizon.

Early in the year, there were hopes for the ACP program to last a little longer. Various organizations have also been appealing to the government for an extension. But it would seem none of the requests have come through, including the $6 billion extension budget the current Administration requested from Congress.

When the ACP program ends for real, Verizon says you’ll now get your phone plan at the regular price (without the ACP subsidy). If you can’t afford to maintain your bill, you’ll have to end your services with Verizon.

But before you cancel your service, we recommend you check out the other Verizon Wireless free government phone discount with the Lifeline program.

In a nutshell, Lifeline is a government program that gives low-income consumers a monthly discount on phones or the Internet.

Eligible telecommunication carrier (ETC) is the name we use for the phone providers with a license to offer the Lifeline program.

Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone Discount with Lifeline Program

Verizon is one of the few premium ETCs that offer a Lifeline program for free government phone discounts. The amount of discount you can save on the program is currently $9.25/ month ($25 on federally recognized tribal lands).

Verizon is a  lifeline phone provider with free service discount on cellular and home service. Instead of redeeming the discount on the regular phone plans, though, the provider has special phone plans for the program.

If applying the discount with a Verizon home phone, you’ll need the Home Phone Connect plan. The Home Phone plan has a $19.99 value, meaning your bill after the discount drops to $10.74. And that’s a fair deal, considering you get unlimited talk minutes, included with local long-distance calls.

On the other hand, the special Verizon Wireless Lifeline phone plan has a $25 value. Thus, you only get to pay $15.75/ month after the discount.

In the fifteen bucks, Verizon gives you unlimited mobile call minutes, long-distance calling, and unlimited text messaging. It’s certainly not the best deal when we compare allowances with a competitor like Safelink Wireless free phone. But Verizon certainly has quality service.

If on the tribal lands, Verizon offers the Lifeline phone plans with a full discount, meaning you won’t have to pay anything. However, you must have a tribal ID number to prove your identity.

How to Get Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone Discount with Lifeline

As I’ve mentioned, Lifeline is a government assistance program that aims at helping low-income Americans afford phone service. So, the first requirement to get the phone discount is a low income.

Currently, the low-income cap eligible for the Verizon Wireless Lifeline phone plans is an amount at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. The poverty guidelines you use to determine your eligibility with income must be current as they change every year.

Besides the income-based requirement, you can get a Lifeline phone if on a qualifying federal assistance benefit. Some of these assistance benefits include:

  • Medicaid
  • National School Lunch Program
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans Pension and Veterans Survivors Benefit
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Tribal-based benefits, such as Head Start, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), et cetera.

As an ETC, Verizon has the license to offer the Lifeline phone discount in only a few states. If applying for the Lifeline discount through the wireless phone plan, you can only qualify in parts of Iowa, New York, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

In Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington, Verizon only offers Lifeline discounts on home phone or internet service.

The reason I’ve mentioned these areas where Verizon offers the Lifeline program is that the eligibility requirements vary. For instance, New York qualifies for the government phone discount with the National School Lunch program while other states don’t.

How to Apply Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone Discount

Do you fulfill the eligibility and location qualifications for the Verizon Lifeline phone program I have listed? If yes, you can apply for the free government phone discount as easily as follows:

  1. Visit the Lifeline National Verifier page
  2. Select “your state or territory” from the options available. Then, hit the bold blue button to “Get Started”
  3. Fill in all your personal information, including full legal name, date of birth, and social security number (last 4 digits). Also, select your type of government identification or number on Tribal ID. Then, enter your home address: Street number, apartment/ unit, city, and zip code.
  4. After filling in all the necessary fields, confirm you qualify yourself or through a dependent. Then, hit the bold blue “Next” button.
  5. If all the information details are okay, you’ll get a prompt to set a unique username and password. Then, enter your contact information and hit the bold “Submit” button.
  6. Next, click “Start Lifeline Application”. Then, select the eligibility requirement you wish to use to apply for the government phone discount and hit the “Next” button.
  7. The “Next” button will jump you to a page to Review Your Information. If all the details are okay, hit “Submit” again.

When you hit that last “Submit” button, your details will go through the National Verifier. National Verifier (NV) is a system of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) that determines eligibility for the Lifeline program.

If the National Verifier has your profile in its database, you get approved for the Lifeline program almost instantly. But without your details in their database, the NV will ask you to provide additional details.

The “additional information” the National Verifier may ask you to provide is proof to confirm your identity and address.

Accepted proof of Identity

If the National Verifier asks for proof of identity, it needs an official document to confirm your name and date of birth. Some of the documents you can provide include:

  • A valid ID card, birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, Green card, emancipation certificate/ letter (for students), etc.

Accepted Proof of Eligibility

Proof of eligibility is a document to show how you qualify for the Lifeline program. Some examples you can provide include:

  • Income-based eligibility: a copy of state/ federal/ Tribal tax return, income statement, paycheck stub, divorce decree/ child support award, or statement of Social Security benefits, unemployment/ worker’s compensation, retirement/ pension, or Veterans Administration benefits.
  • Program-based eligibility: a copy of statement of participation on either of the accepted government-funded assistance benefits. You can also use an official letter of enrollment or approval.

 Return to Get Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone Discount

Once the national Verifier has approved your Lifeline enrollment, you’ll get a unique ID of enrollment. Then, you can contact the Verizon Lifeline department at 1-800-Verizon to complete your application.

The final steps to complete the application for the Verizon free government phone discount basically means selecting your Lifeline phone plan. Then, you can start receiving your Verizon phone service at a reduced rate.

Key Takeaway:

If we compare the Verizon Lifeline program with other eligible telecommunication carriers, it certainly isn’t the best.

Of course, some ETCs may have worse phone discounts on the Lifeline program. But when we bring in SafeLink again, it certainly has better Lifeline phone discounts than Verizon.

Yes, Verizon offers quality service, with a guarantee of a US-based customer support team. But Safelink Lifeline phone discounts include free talk minutes, text messages, and up to 6GB of browsing data.

Verizon Lifeline phone discount includes no browsing data at this time. The browsing data is on a different Fios Home Internet plan that you can’t combine with the wireless phone offer. How so?

Lifeline service is usually only available as one enrollment per household. And considering Verizon offers Lifeline discounts in different categories of wireless phone, home phone, and internet service, you can’t combine them. You can only complete your enrollment with one type of service.

Common Related Questions:

How Much data allowance do I get on the Verizon Wireless Lifeline phone program?

Unfortunately, you won’t get any data allowance on the Verizon Wireless Lifeline phone program. The free government phone discount only includes talk minutes for calling and text messaging.

If you wish to get internet data with Verizon Lifeline, you’ll have to apply for the FiOS Home internet service. The internet plan usually costs $20/ month after the Verizon Forward/ Lifeline discount. However, the service provider currently has an offer price of $0/ month.

Will I get a free smartphone with a Verizon Wireless Lifeline discount?

Sadly, No, you won’t get a free smartphone with Verizon Wireless Lifeline discount. Verizon only offers a free smartphone when you join its postpaid phone service (or sometimes the prepaid phone service).

Does Verizon Wireless have better Lifeline phone discount than SafeLink?

In terms of service quality, the Verizon Lifeline phone is better than SafeLink. However, SafeLink is better than Verizon Wireless on allowances, as you can get up to unlimited talk, text messages, and 4.5GB to 6GB of high-speed data.

When will the Verizon Wireless phone discount with Lifeline end?

The Verizon Wireless phone discount with Lifeline is likely to end when the carrier stops participating. Unlike the ACP discount, Lifeline is a permanent free phone program that the government funds with the Universal Service Fund. The Universal Service Fund is always available as telecommunication companies fund it through taxes.