Seven Ways that You Can Lose Your Free Government Cell Phone
We hear from numerous people every week about the fact that they have lost their free government cell phones. These individuals lose their cell phones in many different ways, but it doesn't matter how they have lost their cell phone they have still lost it. Some common examples are that somebody lost it at school, they left it on the subway, somebody stole it, and so on.

These are not the only ways that you can lose your cell phone. There are some strict regulations when it comes to the lifeline assistance program. If you happen to violate these regulations even if you accidentally buy late then you may lose your free government cell phone. If one of these violations happens to come up, the most likely scenario is that you will lose your cell phone. Here are seven ways that you might lose your cell phone that you should be aware of.

You Have More Than One Phone Per Person

Some people like to abuse the system and you might sign up for three, four, or even more free government cell phones. Strict new regulations have been instituted by the Federal Communications Commission it will track down on this fraud. They require Lifeline companies to assure that each customer only gets one free government cell phone. If you are a customer of this program didn't your address as well as your name are part of a huge national database. If you try to cheat the system and sign up for more than one phone, your name pops up in this database and then the application is going to be rejected.

According to the USAC, they indicate that a service that supports the Lifeline program how innate the service for any subscriber that fails to demonstrate their eligibility within a 30 day time.

You Have More Than One Phone Per Household

If you happen to live with a family member and they have a  free government cell phone, you will not be eligible for one. This might seem a little bit unfair but it is because of the government database and your account is going to be closed if you try to apply for another one.

According To the USAC, they indicate that if more than one subscriber in a household is receiving service, the telecommunications carrier has de-enroll the subscriber which must be done within 5 days. This will also be the case if there is more than one discount account that is found within the household.

No Annual Recertification

The lifeline rules indicate that you have to certify on an annual basis that you meet the qualifications for Lifeline Assistance. If you fail to clarify that you should continue in the program then the account is closed.

According to the USAC, they indicate that if a telecommunications carrier has a reasonable basis to believe that one of their subscribers are not eligible then the carrier sends a notice to the subscriber indicating that they will be terminated from the program. The subscriber then has 30 days from the date of the impending termination letter to demonstrate that they have eligibility by recertifying their continued eligibility.

If You Don't Respond to Your Cell Phone Companies Request For Your Certification

You must recertify in a timely basis. The phone company is going to send you a letter demanding that you do this within 30 days. You need to provide the company with the necessary paperwork or you're going to lose your phone.

According to the USAC, they indicate that subscribers have an obligation to recertify on an annual basis that only one member of the household is receiving a program supported service and that they still are eligible for this service. If that subscriber does not respond to any telecommunications carriers request for their certification then that telecommunications carrier has to provide the subscriber with a notification that that subscriber has 30 days from the date of the notification to give the requested information.

You Are Off Permissible Government Aid Programs

According to FCC and USAC Authorities if you no longer need government assistance then you're going to lose your free government cell phone.

According to the USAC, they indicate that the subscriber has an obligation to let their telecommunications carrier know if they no longer meet the qualifications for a Lifeline program supported device. if a subscriber becomes ineligible they have to de-enroll by contacting their communications carrier.

Many individuals qualify for Lifeline service since they are participating in other state or federal assistance programs. If you prove that you need financial assistance, then you don't have to prove this all over again.  There are Universal federal assistance programs which are available in every state. Some states offer other assistance programs which you may qualify for Lifeline service which are indicated below:

  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • National School Lunch Program's Free Lunch Program
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

You can click here To find out which programs are available in your state

You Get a Job With an Annual Income That is Above Federal Poverty Guidelines

If you get a job that pays you well enough then you will no longer qualify for a free government cell phone. If you're on the program when you get the job you have to notify the Lifeline Assistance provider that you no longer qualify for the program. If you don't notify them then the account is going to be canceled and you might be required to reimburse the government for the time in which you illegally used your free government cell phone service.

The incomes from everyone that is living in a house line are going to be added together to determine if you qualify. in many states, the qualifying income has to fall below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. Some states will allow you to qualify if the household income is 150% of those said guidelines. These states include Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas. Some states that have their own levels include Vermont, Nevada, and California.

For information on how you can qualify, click here.

If You Don't Use Your Free Government Cell Phone For 60 Days or More

One of the oldest ways to lose your free government cell phone according to many Lifeline assistance users is to simply not use it for an extended period. The FCC, however, has a very odd definition for the word "use".

You will be out of luck if you just use the cell phone for texting. This is inadequate to satisfy the FCC and USAC regulations. you should be placing a voice call at least every 60 days or you're going to lose your phone.

According to the USAC, if any subscriber is receiving service but not billed for that service such as free wireless service but the subscriber does not use that service for 60 consecutive days then the Telecommunications carrier has to give the subscriber 830 days notice that failure to use the service within 30 days. If they don't use the service after the notification this will result in the termination of their service.

Not "Using" Your Free Government Cell Phone For 60 Days or More

Many Lifeline Assistance customers consider this the oddest way to lose your free government cell phone. If you don't "use" it for 60 days or more, your account will be canceled. Unfortunately, "use" has an odd definition according to the FCC.

For example, you're out of luck if you only "use" your cell phone for texting, because that's inadequate to satisfy USAC and FCC regulations. So make sure you place a voice call at least every 60 days or you could lose your phone.

The USAC says, If a subscriber is receiving service for which the subscriber is not billed (for example, free wireless service), and the subscriber does not use the service for 60 consecutive days, the telecommunications carrier must provide the subscriber with 30 days' notice that failure to use the service within the 30-day notice period will result in termination of the service.


The federal government wants to eliminate abuse, waste, and fraud from the lifeline assistance program. They're going to be looking for people that are cheating in this program. If you are on this program, follow the rules which are quite simple. If you follow these rules, you're going to be able to text and talk with your free government cell phone. If you are in violation of these rules, you can expect that you're going to lose your phone.