Phone Plans

California Lifeline Cell Phone Plans: How to Know if You’re Eligible

Sara Nuss
April 5, 2023

Everyone needs help at some point in their lives whether it’s extra money to support your family, or even if you just need a mental health break. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re stuck in a rut with no way of getting out, but there are plenty of ways to dig yourself out of the hole you’re in, even if it's with help from the government. 

Main image courtesy of KTLA

The United States government works to try its best to keep the people within it safe, healthy, and happy. If you need a basic form of communication to talk with loved ones to ensure that everyone in your home’s safe, or for other purposes, the state of California offers lifeline cell phone plans to people who need them the most.

What are California lifeline cell phone plans? There’s a ton to go over with these types of plans, so let’s check out some of the facts!

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What Are California Lifeline Cell Phone Plans?

Get to know what they are and what you can do to get one if you’re qualified!

Everyone needs a cell phone plan to talk and communicate with loved ones, and the California lifeline plan is great to have if you need it. Image courtesy of Federal Financial Relief

The California lifeline cell phone plan is a great plan to take advantage of if you’re in a financial crisis when it can be hard to afford your own cell phone plan. 

Getting to know what the California lifeline cell phone plan is and how to qualify for it can in the long run help to make your life so much easier. Let’s look into the details of this plan and why you need to snag it!

The California Lifeline Cell Phone Plan 101

Many people haven’t heard of the California lifeline cell phone plan, which is sad because it is a great government benefit that could help you and your family in many ways. This is a state program where the government provides either home phones or cell phones and services for eligible individuals.

This is a huge discount compared to what you could be paying on a cell phone plan through Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, or even through a MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator. You will be provided a cell phone or home phone, but you have to choose one or the other, you cannot choose to have service for both. 

Who is Eligible for the California Lifeline Phone Plan?

It’s important to know who is eligible for the California lifeline phone plan because not everyone can get it. There are many people, especially in California who are struggling with their finances, their health, or many other problems that people face—and this lifeline cell phone plan can help people who currently do not have a home phone or cell phone due to it being too expensive for them.

There are a few different ways to qualify for the California lifeline cell phone plan that include the following:

  • If you are low income
  • Currently on Medicaid or Medi-Cal
  • Receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Receive CalFresh, Food Stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Children are a part of the National School Lunch Program (NSL)
  • Are a part of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Live in Section 8 housing or are a part of the Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Are a part of the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
  • Are included in the Federal Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit Program
  • Are in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Tribal TANF
  • Are Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal only)
  • Receive help from the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Are included in Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance

What Does the Application Process Look Like?

Many people can be intimidated by the application process for any kind of government funding, but knowing that it can help you in the long run and to get you back on your feet  should be the driving force behind applying. 

There are a few different steps that go into the application process for the California lifeline cell phone plan and they include the following:

  • First, know if you’re eligible based on the program you are a part of or because of your income
  • Call your consumer cell phone company to say you are eligible
  • The phone company reviews the eligibility rules
  • You will receive an application with a Personal Identification number (PIN) in a pink envelope within three days
  • Use online process or paper process to complete your application
  • Will either receive an approval letter for further enrollment or a letter of disqualification

What Kind of Discounts Are Available?

It’s crucial to mention some of the discounts that are available whenever you sign up for the California lifeline cell phone plan. Offering some of the cheapest and most affordable cell phone plans in the state of California, they can help you to successfully own a cell phone, or home phone, to use as a communication service for your loved ones. 

There are many discounts that are available to you if you are eligible to get on the California lifeline cell phone plan that include:

  • Home phone plan for $17.90 per month, or even free
  • One thousand minutes for talk and text on a cell phone for $17.90 per month, or even free
  • Service connection discount up to $39
  • A conversion discount for home phones up to $39 
  • Free from paying the following surcharges - CPUC’s user fee, federal excise tax, local franchise taxes, and State 911 tax associated with your phone service

What Are the Benefits of a California Lifeline Cell Phone Plan?

Understanding what the benefits are of this type of cell phone plan can help put money back into your wallet!

Finding a cell phone plan that can  help to support you financially is a great opportunity to help make your life better. Image courtesy of You Work For Them

It can be hard to admit when you need help sometimes, but there are a ton of reasons why applying for the California lifeline cell phone plan is the best decision you could make. 

There are plenty of benefits that play along with signing up for this type of home or cell phone plan!

Discount on Monthly Phone Plan

There is no better feeling than knowing that you can get a large discount for a home or cell phone plan through the California lifeline plan. No matter if you decide to choose the home phone, or the cell phone, you’ll be able to enjoy a monthly price as low as $17.90 per month or even for free.

Another great reason why a ton of low income or program-based individuals decide to apply for this is because of the great discounted price. You can also get a free smartphone from enTouch Wireless and enjoy a prepaid plan, free international calling, or even unlimited talk and text.

Broadband Internet Service Could Be Provided

Another great reason to consider applying for the California lifeline cell phone plan is because you could also qualify for free internet service along with a free phone. When it comes down to it, you may be eligible to get free internet on top of helping with providing you a cell phone. It is also helpful to know if you’re a part of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) l.

The Affordable Connectivity Program is a program that the government has donated $14 billion to help people who are in need. With no end date for the program, if you qualify, you could receive financial assistance on basic household needs and bills, which can also include your internet and cell phone bill. 

The ACP can help you and pay up to $75 of your internet bill per month so you are able to access the internet to do basic tasks, do important check-ins, check your email, and also get important updates on your childrens’ school too. 

Up to 1,000 Minutes For Talk and Text

Depending on the cell phone plan that you go through when signing up for a California lifeline cell phone plan, you can get up to one thousand minutes and text messages to communicate with loved ones, or you can get a free plan that includes unlimited talk, text, international calling, and more.

Allowing you access  to communicate with loved ones  can be great in order to ensure your safety to others, and it’s also the government’s way of caring about the citizens that live in the state of California. Communication is key no matter what kind of situation that you are in, and with this cell phone, you can make important phone calls, make sure your kids got to school okay, and more. 

The Best California Lifeline Cell Phone Plans Available

Knowing what cell phone plans are out there that can help you save money can give you an idea of what to expect with this extra help!

Getting government assistance can greatly help many aspects of your life and ensure that you get the proper help that you need to be successful. Image courtesy of All Connect

Everyone knows that cell phone plans can be incredibly expensive because you’re paying for the talk and text, and also a set data allotment data plan or unlimited plan. It is important to have the basics in life and having a cell phone plan can help to communicate with your loved ones and other important people in your life, help you to get a job, and get your life straightened out.

There are a few different California lifeline cell phone plans that are crucial to mention, so let’s check out the different ones that you can sign up for!

Assurance Wireless

If you are looking for a carrier that provides California lifeline cell phone plans, Assurance Wireless is one of the best ones to choose from because of all of the benefits that they provide. This lifeline service is also connected to the ACP and it helps give customers unlimited talk, text, and other features too.

Some of the features of an Assurance Wireless cell phone plan can help someone in need include:

  • Free Android smartphone
  • Free unlimited data
  • Free unlimited talk and text
  • 10GB of a mobile hotspot for free
  • 4G LTE data speeds
  • T-Mobile’s fast network service and coverage

Safety Net Wireless

Another great cell phone carrier that partners with the California lifeline to help people in need is through Safety Net Wireless. Offering three different cell phone plans, Safety Net Wireless aims towards helping those in  California by providing an affordable phone plan to make your life a little bit easier.

There are a few different features included on a Safety Net Wireless cell phone plan that include the following:

  • Free unlimited talk and text on all plans
  • Free cell phone included in plan
  • Set data allotment plans from 4.5GB to 12GB of data per month
  • Data refills available
  • Available in California and many other states
  • 4G LTE data speeds
  • Uses T-Mobile’s fast network service and coverage

It’s also important to consider some of the cell phone plans that they offer through Safety Net Wireless:

  • $0 per month for unlimited talk, text, and 4.5GB of data
  • $0 per month for unlimited talk, text, and 6GB of data
  • $25 per month for unlimited talk, text, and 12GB of data

Safety Net Wireless also offers a couple different options if you need to have more data on your plan:

  • $9.99 for 1GB
  • $18.99 for 2GB

EnTouch Wireless

One of the most notable cell phone plans to sign up for if you are eligible for a California lifeline plan is through EnTouch Wireless. This cell phone plan has a ton of benefits for anyone who is eligible and they also provide a free cell phone, talk, text, data, and much more. With A+ quality, EnTouch Wireless is very reputable among individuals who need extra assistance.

EnTouch Wireless has a ton of features that are included in their cell phone plan:

  • 100% free plan
  • Android operating system on cell phones
  • Free smartphone included
  • 4G LTE data coverage
  • Limited deal for unlimited data upon signing up
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Free international calling available
  • No contract plan
  • No hidden fees to worry about

Through EnTouch Wireless, there are two main cell phone plans to consider and the one that doesn’t include data is completely free, but there is one that includes data as well. The cell phone plan with the data included is only for a limited time, but it can help those who need a little bit of data per month.

Finding the best cell phone plan that can fit within your budget can be challenging, especially if you are someone who is struggling to make ends meet. The California lifeline cell phone plan can be a life changer and it can  make your life easier and help you to get your life on the right track.

Consider looking into a California lifeline cell phone plan to help you and your family out today!

Sara Nuss
Sara Nuss is a journalist from Pittsburgh, PA that specializes in wireless, dewi, phone plan advice & blockchain.
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