Assurance Wireless: Free Cell Phone Program

Assurance Wireless, a part of Virgin Mobile, proudly participates in the Federal Lifeline Assistance Program. The Universal Service Fee charged on telecommunications services pays for the Lifeline program. The plan allows all people to contact 9-1-1 or other emergency services, jobs, doctors and family members free if they meet the requirements of the program. The program is a government benefit for certain people who need extra help.

Some people who receive this Federal government benefit include:

  • Adults of all ages, including seniors
  • People on disability
  • Food stamp recipients
  • Farm Aid recipients
  • General Relief recipients
  • People on Medicaid
  • People on Medicare
  • People on Social Security
  • People in Section 8 subsidized housing
  • Refugee or Entrant Cash Assistance recipients
  • People who receive SSI benefits
  • People with incomes lower than 135% of the national poverty rate

Each state has different qualifications for the program. Lifeline applicants are required to verify their eligibility for the program as part of their enrollment package.

Only one phone line per household can get the Assurance Wireless Lifeline program. However, separate households living at the same address can be eligible. This includes residents of homeless or domestic violence shelters or nursing homes. People with temporary addresses can also apply for the program. The Assurance Wireless program is available in most states.

A person eligible for Lifeline assistance through Assurance Wireless receives a free wireless phone plus 250 free talk minutes and 250 free text messages every month. The models of the phones available vary and they cannot be traded for a different kind of phone. Program participants can add money to their wireless plan to buy extra talk minutes, extra texts, or international calling features. Virgin Mobile offers Top-Up cards at many stores to help customers add money to their account. Money can be added using debit cards, credit cards or PayPal, too.

The wireless phones provided under the Lifeline program use the Sprint nationwide network for coverage. They include voicemail, call waiting and caller ID as part of the package, and there are no contracts, bills or activation fees to start the program. Calls to Assurance Wireless Customer Care are free. Participants can even keep their current home or cell number if they switch to the Lifeline program. Participants must make at least one call every 2 months to stay eligible for the program.

To enroll, complete the enrollment form online or print it and mail it. Include proof of eligibility for the program by sending COPIES of any of the following documents:

  • Benefit ID card from any public assistance program like Medicaid, Medicare, Section 8 housing, SNAP or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Eligibility letter from an authorized agency
  • Benefits statement from the current year

People who earn less than 135% of the national poverty rate are also eligible for the Assurance Wireless Lifeline program. The exact amount of annual income limits depends on the number of people in the household. A household is any person or group of people who live at the same address and share income and expenses.

To apply based on income, submit proof of income by sending a COPY of any one of these documents from the most recent 12-month period:

  • Pay stubs for the past 3 months
  • Social Security benefits statement
  • Veterans Administration benefits statement
  • Retirement or pension benefits statement
  • Unemployment benefits statement
  • Most recent Federal or state income tax return
  • Income statement from employer
  • Federal letter verifying participation in General Assistance programs
  • Divorce decree or child support document containing income information
  • Worker’s Compensation statements

Once an application for Assurance Wireless Lifeline is approved, the household receives their phone and supply of minutes and texts. People who receive the service can keep it as long as they continue to qualify based on income or participation in an assistance program. Only the head of the household can apply for the program.

Assurance Wireless contacts every program participant at least once a year to verify eligibility for the program. If the participant does not provide the information required on time, their program ends. Federal law requires this. People on the program must contact Assurance Wireless immediately if they are no longer eligible for the program. Assurance can switch that customer to a regular Virgin Mobile wireless plan at that time if needed.