September 28, 2016

SSI Recipients May Be Eligible for Free Cell Phones and Free Minutes

Cell phone userSSI recipients and other low income Americans may be eligible for free cell phone or landline service under a program called Lifeline Across America.  Participants can expect to receive discounted or free service for a limited number of wireless minutes, but for those living alone or who want the security of a cell phone for emergencies, the Lifeline program can be very comforting.

In June of this year, the New York Times published an article about the Lifeline program entitled Providing Cell Phones for the Poor.

The program specifications vary from state to state – and associated programs may provide subsidies for electricity and other utilities.  You can find out what is available in your state by a simple web search – I typed “Lifeline + cell phones + Georgia” into Google and the search result documented a number of carriers offering the service.

Another service that provides free or low cost cell phones to low income individuals is Assurance Wireless – click on the link to learn more.

Thanks to Wisconsin disability lawyer Don Chewning for blogging about this important benefit to SSI recipients.

If you are interested in learning more about how to get one of these free or low cost cell phones, please visit:

Lifeline Across America


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Jonathan Ginsberg represents Social Security disability claimants in Georgia. In practice for over 29 years, Jonathan publishes a widely known disability blog, a podcast and several disability web sites. In 2004, Jonathan published a "how to" book about Social Security disability called the Disability Answer Guide. Jonathan lives with his wife and 2 children in Atlanta.


  1. Thanks for blogging about this! I knew about the service in relation to landlines, but did not know about the cell service. This will be extremely useful for our clients who are homeless or live in shelters, as well as for our clients to be safer while out in the community. Especially when looking for a job, it is nice to have a phone number that will not get turned off and you are always accessible.

    This is what I learned about IL

  2. Herring Kimberley says:

    that is not the cont in Breckenridge Texas they do not ofer free house or ceel phons to those on S.S.I.I should no I’m on SSI and I have been on it for years to be xact I whnt in it 1998 when i was20 I am now 32 and singal muther of a 5 year old .we can berly make it.

  3. patrica peck says:

    My sister patrica is getting ssd does she qualifie for this plan

  4. margaret provence says:

    i am on social security disability since 1996, i was told i might be eligible for a free cell phone and free minutes. Please, if you can let me know how to get that.

    thank you
    margaret provence

  5. margaret provence says:

    what does “you comment is awaiting moderation” mean?

  6. “Awaiting moderation” means that I need to approve all comments before they appear on my blog. Most of the outright spam comments are blocked by software but I get a lot of comments from folks trying to promote various products and services. I delete any comment that does not offer anything useful or that is obviously an attempt to place a link on my blog.

  7. @margaret – click on the Lifeline link contained in the blog post article

  8. I tried it, my sister who lives with us is on SSI, I am on SS Disability long before her, lives in the same house as well. She got one of these phones but because I have the same address they said I can’t have a phone, that is BS! I have been on Disability for 3 years and am a Veteran this blows, she is a temporary live in and used my address and snags a phone and ruined my chance to get one, what bullshit.

  9. Oralia Araiza says:

    @patrica peck: I am on SSD, Food Stamps, have medicare and medicaid and would like to know if I qualify for a free cellphone and free minutes.

  10. Charles Cameron says:

    I am on SSI with an income of less than $700.00 a month, would this qualify for a free phone and minutes for emergency use. I have heart trouble, at this time wearing a heart monitor to determine what time of heart surgery I will be needing in the near future.

    Please respond, I will complete all information as needed. I do not have a computer, but my sister is handling this for me. My telephone number is 850-994-4689. Please call if additional information is required.
    Thank you
    Charles Cameron
    Judy Gentry

  11. Nice as I am Disabled

  12. I have been on ss disability and can’t have one either. Because my husband is still working and only make’s $12.61 an hour and work’s 39 hours a week!!! I don’t get much after uncle sam takes out taxes, and part b benefits. We have been in dire need of everything and we can’t get any help. I have a joke for a spend down with medicaid of $$$1000.00 per month that I have to pay out for medical bills. Medical system is out of control, and turning into the dictators in this country. Next they are going to take the roof over my head, after I have busted my A** working in this country. And then a lot of the” FRAUD” dept get’s laid off due to, “THE ECONOMY”!!!! I have seen and have heard of SOOOOO much fraud in this country. But I can’t get a phone. I won’t go to even the store myself anymore because of my neighborhood declining and I don’t feel safe. I can’t go anywhere. I am a prisoner in my home. Even my brother who is a drunken bum get’s everything . I have been a good law abiding citizen, and honest. And I can’t get a cheap cell phone for my own safety when my husband is a work!!!!! We are having to just cancel my land line because I can’t afford that, which is now $35.00 a month. We simply need FOOD! So 35 in food, and no communication. Now not even to social security when I need to call them, you know how LONG they put you on hold!!! There would go the 250 minutes! LOL!

  13. Joyce Malmgren says:

    I am a 59 year old female collecting SSI. Am I entitled to a phone with minutes? I am currently trying to pay for a phone on contract and due to the cost, may have to let it go. Thank you for any response and information you can provide.