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How to Get FREE Phone Service in Pennsylvania With Lifeline and the ACP

FREE Government Phone Service Is Available to Keystone State Residents

Did you know low-income households and individuals receiving federal assistance benefits in Pennsylvania are eligible for FREE cell phone service with UNLIMITED* Data, Talk & Text on one of America’s largest 4G LTE/5G networks? That’s right! Take advantage of this incredible opportunity and cut out your monthly phone bill once and for all.

This little-known government benefit is made possible through the Lifeline Program and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), two federal initiatives dedicated to ensuring that low-income households have access to affordable phone and internet services.

In today’s fast-paced world, staying connected is more important than ever – whether it’s for work, education, medical appointments, or keeping in touch with loved ones. Unfortunately, accessing these essential communication services can often pose a significant challenge for millions of Americans.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 1.5 million Pennsylvania residents experienced poverty in 20211. More recent studies, utilizing public survey data from the Census Bureau, show that over 2 million households in the Keystone State are eligible for the ACP2.

Imagine the possibilities if those 2 million plus households were to live without the burden of monthly phone bills!

What Is the Lifeline Program?

The Pennsylvania state flag waving beside the national flag of the United States of America against a clear blue sky.
Qualifying households in Pennsylvania can receive FREE cell phone service on one of America’s largest 4G LTE/5G networks through the federal Lifeline program.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the Lifeline program in 1984, laying the foundation that would allow low-income Americans to afford essential communication services. The program extends monthly discounts for phone or internet services to eligible individuals across all states, U.S. territories, and Tribal lands3.

The administration of the Lifeline phone program falls under the capable hands of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), which is entrusted with guiding consumers through applications, educating the public on eligibility requirements, and conducting yearly recertifications for participants.

All Lifeline applicants must use the FCC’s National Verifier (NV) application system, which verifies applicant eligibility and ensures annual recertifications for participants. Qualifying households can receive a single Lifeline discount, and this benefit is non-transferable.

Accessing this system and applying for Lifeline benefits, including FREE phone service, is typically done through a participating company like Q Link Wireless, recognized as America’s #1 Online Lifeline Provider for over a decade.

What Are the Lifeline Program’s Benefits?

As previously highlighted, the Lifeline phone program extends monthly discounts to qualifying low-income individuals across all U.S. Tribal lands3, territories, and states, including Pennsylvania. Considering that roughly 12% of the population lived in poverty during 20211, residents of the Keystone State can greatly benefit from the following discounts in addition to FREE wireless phone service.

  • A monthly discount of up to $9.25 for phone or internet service, or
  • A monthly discount of up to $34.25 for customers on Tribal lands3.

Who is Eligible for Lifeline in Pennsylvania?

Happy smiling senior woman in a white sweater observing as her adult daughter shows her how to get free phone service with the Lifeline Program.
Pennsylvanians with government benefits like SNAP, SSI, and Medicaid are eligible for Lifeline and FREE monthly phone service.

In order to meet the eligibility criteria for the Lifeline phone program in Pennsylvania, you must either maintain an annual household income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines4 or be enrolled in specific government assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or various Tribal Programs, among others.

Lifeline Income Qualifications for Pennsylvanians

The table provided below shows the income qualifications for the Lifeline program based on the size of your household. Please note that the Federal Poverty Guidelines change every year and are updated at the end of January.

2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Household Size5All 48 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 extra person, add this amount:$6,939
*The Federal Poverty Guidelines are updated at the end of January.

What Does the “One Per Household” Rule Mean?

The FCC’s “one per household” rule may be a bit confusing, so let’s look further into what constitutes a “household.” Per USAC’s definition, a household is essentially a group of individuals who live together, sharing income and expenses, regardless of their relationship.

Let’s say, for example, that five roommates or a group of 30 seniors live together, but they don’t share their money and have separate expenses. In that case, each individual will qualify for a Lifeline benefit as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

On the other hand, a married couple or a multi-generational family sharing both income and financial support within the same home will be considered a unified household and would, therefore, receive only one Lifeline benefit.

Qualifying Government Benefit Programs for Lifeline

You can also qualify for a Lifeline discount and FREE cell phone service by participating in certain government benefit programs. Just show proof of your participation, usually with an official government letter or document when submitting your information through the NV application system. The qualifying government programs for Lifeline are as follows:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or Food Stamps)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans Pension or Survivors Benefit Programs
  • FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP)
  • 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)

How to Get FREE Phone Service in Pennsylvania with Lifeline

Mature Caucasian man and woman at home in the kitchen looking at a cell phone together.
Eligible Lifeline phone program beneficiaries can qualify for FREE wireless phone service every month with Q Link Wireless. Apply today!

Unlocking FREE cell phone service in Pennsylvania takes only a few moments when you apply with a leading Lifeline service provider like Q Link Wireless. Once you’re approved, you can start enjoying UNLIMITED* text and picture messaging, up to 1,000 minutes, and up to 4.5GB of data for $0 a month.

Concerned about the reliability of your FREE cellular service? Don’t be! Q Link’s newly upgraded network provides you with greater 4G LTE/5G nationwide coverage and faster speeds, all at no cost to you.

Q Link’s Bring Your Own Phone and Bring Your Own Number programs will even help make the transition easier and allow you to keep the same phone and number you love. And if you’re ever in need of a new device, Q Link’s wide selection of brand-name phones will have what you need at a price that’s right for you.

Don’t take our word for it, check out Q Link’s shop and phone deals and see for yourself!

What Is the Affordable Connectivity Program?

Now that we’ve explained what the Lifeline program is, it’s time to discuss the Affordable Connectivity Program, or ACP for short. The ACP is the newer version of the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program, which was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic to help low-income households afford internet service.

After December 31, 2021, the FCC transitioned all EBB subscribers to the ACP and the benefits of the program were adjusted to better serve consumers in a post-pandemic economy. Needless to say, the ACP works very similarly to the Lifeline program in that only one ACP benefit is permitted per household, and it can’t be transferred to a different person, even if they qualify.

What Are the ACP Program Benefits?

Pennsylvanians who qualify for the ACP are eligible for the following benefits:

  • Up to a $30 discount for monthly internet service, or
  • Up to a $75 discount for monthly internet service for households on qualifying Tribal lands3,
  • A one-time internet device discount of up to $100 for a computer, laptop, or tablet (requires a consumer co-payment between $10 to $50)

Can You Combine Lifeline and ACP Benefits?

One of the most commonly asked questions is whether or not you can combine ACP and Lifeline benefits. The answer to that is yes. Eligible households who qualify for both government benefit programs can receive these two benefits and use them to get FREE UNLIMITED* cell phone service with Q Link Wireless.

How Do You Qualify for ACP Benefits in Pennsylvania?

American soldier with U.S. state flag arm patch standing in front of a dark blue background showing the Pennsylvania state symbol.
Residents of the Keystone State with low annual income or government benefits like Lifeline, SNAP, Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits can qualify for the ACP and get FREE UNLIMITED phone service.

By now, you’re probably wondering how to find out if you’re eligible for the ACP. Don’t worry, we’ve done the research for you. To qualify for ACP benefits in Pennsylvania, you must have an annual household income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines6 or participate in certain government programs.

ACP Income Qualifications for Pennsylvanians

The table below outlines the qualifying income thresholds for the ACP per size of the household for all 48 connected states, including Washington, D.C., and all U.S. territories. Qualifying income thresholds for Alaska and Hawaii have been excluded from this chart but can be found on USAC’s website.

2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Household Size5All 48 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
For each extra person, add this amount:$10,280
*The Federal Poverty Guidelines are updated at the end of January.

ACP Qualifying Government Benefit Programs

A more common way to qualify for FREE phone service and ACP benefits is through a federal assistance program such as:

  • Lifeline Program
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or Food Stamps)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • 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 standards)

What if You Don’t Qualify for Lifeline or the ACP?

Young adult man and woman couple sitting at home using a smartphone together.
Spreading ACP and Lifeline program awareness can help millions of underprivileged Americans gain access to FREE cell phone service.

Even though it’s estimated that there are around 2 million ACP-eligible households in Pennsylvania2, not everyone reading this may qualify for Lifeline or ACP benefits. However, sharing this information with others will help close America’s digital divide and empower those who can qualify for these programs with essential communication services.

How to Get FREE Phone Service in Pennsylvania With ACP & Lifeline

You can fill out your ACP and Lifeline program application by signing up with Q Link Wireless, one of the best government FREE phone service providers, and find out in just minutes if you qualify for FREE wireless phone service every month.

Once you qualify for ACP and/or Lifeline phone benefits in Pennsylvania, you can apply your discounts to your mobile service and walk away with UNLIMITED* Data, Talk & Text on one of America’s largest 4G LTE/5G nationwide networks – all for $0 a month!

With Q Link Wireless, ACP, and Lifeline, it’s totally possible to say goodbye to your phone bill. You’ll receive a new SIM Card Kit in the mail with FAST & FREE Shipping and pay ZERO activation fees. As an added bonus, you’ll get 2 months of Amazon Prime FREE† as soon as you activate your SIM Card.

Did You Know You Can Get a New Android Tablet^ From Q Link Wireless?

Happy mature senior couple relaxing on the sofa in the living room and using an Android tablet to access media and make video calls.
Pennsylvania residents, enhance your mobile experience and connectivity with a New Android Tablet^ – available for a one-time co-payment of $10.01 from Q Link Wireless.

For a one-time co-payment of just $10.01, you can upgrade your digital suite and take your entertainment on the go by using your ACP internet device discount to get Q Link’s Scepter 8 Tablet^.

Immerse yourself in your favorite media using the crisp display of this quality Android Tablet^ and enjoy the flexibility to work and access your documents from anywhere. Unlike a phone, the Q Link Tablet^ does not require a SIM card and instead relies on a Wi-Fi connection to access the internet.

Luckily, as a Q Link Wireless customer, you’ll have access to over 10 million FREE Wi-Fi locations across the country, so you can reliably stay connected no matter where you are.

So, what are you waiting for? Experience the Q Link Wireless difference today and see if you qualify for FREE government phone service!

Close-up view of a group of people using and looking at mobile phones while sitting together indoors.

Disclaimers

*UNLIMITED Data & Talk is an offer funded by the ACP. See Terms & Conditions. Must qualify.

^ACP discounted device offer is subject to product availability. Customers will be notified of device shipment and must contribute a co-payment of $10.01. Tablet offer varies by state. ACP Terms & Conditions apply.

†Offer subject to change. Cancel anytime by visiting ‘Manage Prime Membership’ in ‘Your Account’ on Amazon.com and adjusting your membership settings. Amazon.com, Inc. and its affiliates are not sponsors of this promotion. Amazon Prime Access is $6.99/month after the 2-month promotional period if you opt-in for autorenewal. You are eligible for Prime Access (a discounted Amazon Prime membership) if you are an EBT cardholder or qualify for select government assistance or discounts. Amazon, Amazon Prime, and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Offer requires a Q Link Wireless account showing active usage at least once a month.

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 Lifeline and the ACP – 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/ 

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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