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How to Get Free Phone Service in Ohio with Lifeline and the ACP

Residents of the Buckeye State Can Get Free Government Phone Service Using Lifeline and ACP Benefits

Do you hate paying your phone bill? We’ve got some great news!

Ohio’s qualifying residents have an incredible opportunity to access FREE monthly cell phone service with UNLIMITED Data, Talk & Text on one of the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE/5G networks thanks to the Lifeline Program and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

Out of the one thousand federal programs that exist in the U.S. to aid individuals facing financial hardship, these two government assistance programs stand out because they are specifically designed to help low-income households afford essential communication services.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that approximately 1.5 million Ohio residents were living in poverty during 20211.

Further research also shows that just under 2 million Ohio households are eligible for the ACP2 and could qualify for FREE monthly phone service.  

Lifeline and the ACP are crucial resources that struggling Americans can rely on to stay connected. Let’s talk about the eligibility criteria for these government benefit programs and how you can qualify for FREE UNLIMITED phone service in Ohio.

About the Lifeline Program

The United States of America flag and Ohio state flag flying high together side by side.
Lifeline is a federal program that helps low-income Americans get discounts on their monthly phone or internet service.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Lifeline Program in the late 1980s in order to make sure that people could access communication services regardless of income.

Lifeline offers eligible consumers a discount on their monthly phone or internet service bill. These discounts are typically up to $9.25 per month, but consumers living on Tribal lands3 can receive an enhanced discount of up to $34.25 per month.

By qualifying for these benefits and signing up with an approved Lifeline service provider like Q Link Wireless, Ohio low-income residents can get FREE monthly cell phone service and have one less bill to worry about.

There’s no doubt Lifeline provides a safety net for individuals with limited financial resources who require assistance in paying for phone, Internet, or bundled wireless broadband services.

One thing to keep in mind is that Lifeline participants will need annual recertifications if contacted by the Lifeline Program’s administrator, the Universal Service Administration Corporation (USAC).

How to Qualify for Lifeline in Ohio

Residents of the Buckeye State may be eligible to receive Lifeline benefits based on annual household income or current participation in government assistance programs.

Qualifying for Lifeline Based on Household Income in Ohio

As long as your annual household income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines4, then you qualify for the Lifeline program. The income thresholds per size of household are provided in the following table:

2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Household Size48 Connecting States, D.C., and Territories
1$19,683
2$26,622
3$33,561
4$40,500
5$47,439
6$54,378
7$61,317
8$68,256
For each additional person, add:$6,939
*The Federal Poverty Guidelines are updated at the end of January.

What is a Household?

Group of young black Americans sitting outside a home while using cell phones and laughing.
Qualifying Ohio residents can qualify for Lifeline depending on annual income per household size and can have up to one discount per household.

The term “household” refers to a group of people who live together and share money and expenses regardless of their relationship. Lifeline benefits are limited to one per household and cannot be transferred between individuals even if the receiving party qualifies for the program.

Examples of one household:
  • A married couple living together is one household and must share one Lifeline benefit.
  • A parent or guardian and child who live together are one household and must share one Lifeline benefit.
  • An adult who lives with friends or family who financially support him or her is considered one household and must share one Lifeline benefit.
Examples of more than one household:
  • Five roommates who live together but DO NOT share money are five separate households and can have one Lifeline benefit each.
  • 30 seniors living in the same assisted-living home are each their own household and can have one Lifeline benefit each, 30 in total.

Qualifying for Lifeline Based on Government Program Participation

Low-income Ohio residents can also qualify for Lifeline by participating in or receiving assistance from other government benefit programs. Eligible programs include:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or Food Stamps)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans Pension or Survivors Benefit Programs
  • Tribal Specific Programs
    • Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) General Assistance
    • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
    • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
    • Tribal Head Start (only households that meet the income qualifying standard)

Recipients of the Lifeline Tribal Benefit may receive additional aid through the Enhanced Tribal Benefit and Link-Up programs.

Get FREE UNLIMITED Cell Phone Service in Ohio with the ACP

Mature Caucasian man and woman using smartphone with unlimited data, talk, and text in the city.
ACP-approved Ohio residents can get FREE cell phone service with UNLIMITED Data, Talk & Text with Q Link Wireless.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal program created by the FCC that provides a monthly discount to low-income Americans on their internet service.

In late 2021, the ACP replaced the previously known Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program, which was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic to help consumers afford online connectivity.

Qualifying consumers in Ohio can receive the following benefits from the ACP:

  • Up to $30 monthly discount toward internet service.
  • Up to $75 monthly discount toward internet service for households on qualifying Tribal lands3.
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 on an eligible internet device such as a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from a participating provider (minimum $10.01 consumer copayment required).

For the purposes of determining qualifying Tribal lands, the ACP uses the same definition for Tribal lands as the Lifeline program.

Who Qualifies for Federal ACP Benefits in Ohio?

Households in Ohio that actively participate in government aid programs or have an annual income that falls below a specific threshold may be eligible for monthly discounts on their internet service through the ACP program.

Current Lifeline participants are automatically eligible for the ACP program and can apply both program discounts to the same or different services offered by a single provider.

For the best use of your benefits, we recommend you sign up with a leading service provider like Q Link Wireless and use both your Lifeline and the ACP discounts to get FREE cell phone service with UNLIMITED Data, Talk & Text.

Qualifying for ACP Benefits in Ohio Based on Income

If your annual household income is 200% or less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines6, then you may qualify for ACP benefits in the Buckeye State. The following table reflects the income thresholds according to the size of the household.

2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Household Size48 Connecting States, D.C., and Territories
1$29,160
2$39,440
3$49,720
4$60,000
5$70,280
6$80,560
7$90,840
8$101,120
If more than 8, add this amount for each extra person:$10,280
*The Federal Poverty Guidelines are updated at the end of January

Qualifying for the ACP Based on Gov. Program Participation

Happy young disabled female speaking on mobile phone with client while looking at laptop screen in her workplace.
Low-income Ohio residents can qualify for the ACP if they are currently enrolled in other government assistance programs.

Do you live in Ohio and already receive federal assistance from any of the following government benefit programs? If you do, then you can qualify for the ACP!

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or Food Stamps)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid
  • Lifeline Program
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
    • Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (Section 8 Vouchers)
    • Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)/Section 202/Section 811
    • Public Housing
    • Affordable Housing Programs for American Indians, Alaska Natives, or Native Hawaiians
  • Veterans Pension or Survivors Benefit Programs
  • Federal Pell Grant for the current award year
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch or Breakfast Program, or enrollment in a Community Eligibility Provision School
  • Tribal Specific Programs
    • Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) General Assistance
    • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
    • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
    • Tribal Head Start (must meet the income qualifying standard)

How Do You Apply for the ACP and Lifeline in Ohio?

So, you’ve read the eligibility criteria for these programs and think your household qualifies for the ACP and/or Lifeline, but you’re not sure where to go to apply.

Don’t worry! You can sign up with a leading ACP and Lifeline service provider like Q Link Wireless who will direct you to the centralized application system for these programs called the National Verifier.

The National Verifier system will quickly determine your eligibility and guide you back to your Q Link Wireless account where you can use your benefits to get FREE UNLIMITED cell phone service on one of the nation’s largest 4G LTE/5G networks.

The process is fast and easy and will save you hundreds of dollars a month on phone service!

Promoting ACP and Lifeline Awareness in Ohio

Group of three smiling mature female friends looking at a smartphone together while having breakfast at a café.
Spreading ACP and Lifeline awareness can help millions of struggling Americans afford essential phone and internet services.

If you’re not someone who qualifies for Lifeline or the ACP, this information can still help someone you may know.

Promoting ACP and Lifeline awareness can help low-income residents in Ohio stay informed about the government aid programs available to them and also keep these essential resources funded.

The official poverty rate in the U.S. for 2021 was 11.6%, with roughly 37.9 million people living in poverty7, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In the state of Ohio alone, there were approximately 1.5 million (13.3%) residents living in poverty in 20211.

In an ideal world, there would be no need for these federal programs. But as long as low-income Americans continue to struggle to afford essential communication services, we have to do our best to spread awareness.

Sign Up Today & Get FREE UNLIMITED Phone Service in Ohio

For more than 10 years, Q Link Wireless has been an official government benefit provider and is recognized as the #1 online Lifeline provider in the U.S.

Q Link Wireless provides FREE UNLIMITED cell phone service to low-income American households that qualify for Lifeline and the ACP.

Learn more about Q Link Wireless!

As a Q Link Wireless customer, you’ll never worry about contracts, monthly bills, or hidden fees. Plus, you can even keep your phone and your number!

Don’t like your current phone? No problem! Q Link Wireless offers a wide selection of quality phone brands such as Apple, Samsung, and Android, at extremely affordable prices.

Check out Q Link Wireless’ phones and deals!

New customers also get 2 months of Amazon Prime FREE as an extra bonus for joining!

Make smarter use of your finances and stop paying for your phone bill!

Sign up with Q Link Wireless today and enjoy FREE cell phone service with UNLIMITED Data, Talk & Text on one of America’s largest 4G LTE/5G networks.

A diverse group of people smiling while using cell phones with free unlimited phone service through ACP and Lifeline.
Ohio residents with ACP and Lifeline benefits get FREE UNLIMITED cell phone service on one of the nation’s largest 4G LTE/5G networks.

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References:

1. U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service; “U.S. Poverty” – https://data.ers.usda.gov/reports.aspx?ID=17826

2. EducationSuperHighway; “ACP Enrollment Dashboard” – https://www.educationsuperhighway.org/no-home-left-offline/acp-data/

3. Eligible Tribal Lands for the Lifeline Program – https://www.lifelinesupport.org/wp-content/uploads/documents/get-lifeline/fcc_tribal_lands_map.pdf

4. 2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines for Lifeline – https://www.lifelinesupport.org/do-i-qualify/

5. What is a Household? – https://www.lifelinesupport.org/what-is-a-household/

6. 2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines for ACP – https://www.usac.org/about/affordable-connectivity-program/application-and-eligibility-resources/how-to-prove-income/

7. U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Official Poverty Rate: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/poverty-awareness-month.html#:~:text=The%20official%20poverty%20rate%20in,and%20Table%20A%2D1

Melissa Halle
Melissa Halle
Melissa Halle is a passionate writer and dedicated advocate for accessible communication and financial empowerment. With a decade of experience, her mission is to help individuals and families get FREE cell phone service while providing information on additional government benefits.

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