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What Is The Process For Getting A Free Government iPhone 12?

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

Apple iPhones can be described as the most popular smartphone model all over the world. With its attractive design, advanced features, high quality, and reliability, it's no surprise that this phone has a loyal customer base.

Apple is also consistently introducing new iPhone models year after year, and the Apple iPhone 12 is one of the newest models in the market. Because it comes with the latest technology, iPhone 12 comes with quite the price tag, making it unattainable for many people, especially those from low-income households.

With the current federal government programs offering free phones, is it possible to get a free government iPhone 12?

How To Get A Free iPhone 12 From The Government

How To Get A Free iPhone 12 From The Government

The federal government continuously introduces various programs to benefit low-income individuals throughout the country. They seek to supplement the needs of these families and help them live comfortably, and one of the benefits they offer is the government cell phone program giving away mobile phones for free.

The Lifeline Assistance and the Affordable Connectivity Program are two government assistance programs that provide discounts on monthly phone and internet services to eligible low-income households. In partnership with various service providers all over the country, these government phone program plans also come with free mobile phones, including iPhone models.

Though you can get an iPhone with this government cell phone plan, it is notable that the models are usually older iPhones like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7. There are rare cases where you can get an iPhone 12, but you can expect this situation to change as newer models are introduced in the next few years.

How To Apply For A Free Government iPhone 12

Before you receive your new iPhone 12 and access your mobile plan discount, you should first start the application process. The instructions must be strictly followed, so you should take note of the following steps carefully.

  1. Before you start your application process, you should ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for Lifeline and ACP.
  2. Once you've determined your qualifications, prepare the current income statement of benefits or other official documentation confirming you meet the requirements.
  3. Begin your online application with Lifeline, ACP, or partner mobile phone carriers.
  4. Find a Lifeline or ACP phone service provider in your state to get your free government phone delivered.

Eligibility Requirements To Get A Free Government iPhone 12

The first step toward a free iPhone is confirming your eligibility for its fundamental requirements. You must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor. Aside from that, it would help if you met program-specific eligibility criteria.

For the Lifeline program, your household must meet at least one of the two main requirements:

1. Your annual household income must be equal to or lower than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines in the state you are residing in.

2. Your household must be a participant in one or more of the following government programs:

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribal Head Start 
  • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

For the Affordable Connectivity Program, your household must meet at least one of the following requirements:

1. Your annual household income must be equal to or lower than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines in the state you are residing in.

2. Your household is an active participant in the Lifeline program.

3. Your household participates in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

4. A member of your household received a Pell Grant in the current year.

5. Your household receives the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program.

Document Requirements To Get A Free Government iPhone 12

Once you've secured that you are eligible for the free iPhone offer, you should provide the documents that provide assurance or proof of your claim.

1. You must provide an official document that shows your household income, like the following:

  • State, federal or Tribal tax return
  • Current income statement of benefits from your employer or paycheck stubs
  • Unemployment or Workers' Compensation statement of benefits
  • Social security, Veterans Administration statement of benefits
  • Federal or Tribal notice letter of participation in General Assistance
  • Divorce decree
  • Child support award

2. You must also provide a document with your name, the government assistance program you participate in, and the issue date within the last 12 months.

3. You must submit an official document that validates your identity, particularly your name and date of birth, to verify your age. For example, you may submit the following:

  • Government, military, state, or Tribal ID
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Driver’s license
  • Government assistance program document
  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship or Naturalization
  • Permanent Resident Card or Green Card

Where To Submit Your Free iPhone Application

You have three main ways to begin an application for free government iPhones:

1. Apply Online

To start an online application, visit Lifeline or ACP websites and check their application forms. Provide the necessary information and documentation thoroughly and submit your application.

2. Apply Via Mail

If you are not comfortable filling out an application online, you can also opt to send on via regular mail. You can download and print the Lifeline application and ACP application forms and add copies of your requirements. Once ready, send the package to Lifeline/ACP Support Center, PO Box 7081, London, KY 40742.

3. Apply Via An ACP or Lifeline Service Provider

Your final option for application is to go straight to a carrier that's a Lifeline or ACP partner. You can check the Lifeline or ACP websites, and their company representatives will guide you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is it possible to get a free government iPhone 12 in the US?

There is no specific government program that provides free iPhone 12 devices. However, low-income individuals may qualify for the Lifeline Assistance program, which offers discounted cell phone service, including a free or low-cost phone. The phone provided may not be an iPhone 12, and the make and model are typically determined by the service provider.

How do I know if I'm eligible for the Lifeline Assistance program?

Eligibility criteria for the Lifeline Assistance program include participation in certain federal assistance programs (e.g., SNAP, Medicaid), or having a household income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For more information on eligibility, visit the Lifeline Assistance program website or contact your local service provider.

How do I apply for the Lifeline Assistance program to receive a free or low-cost phone?

To apply for the Lifeline Assistance program, visit the program website or contact a participating service provider. You will need to complete an application form and provide documentation to verify your eligibility. Once approved, you will receive a free or low-cost phone and discounted cell phone service based on the provider's offerings.

The Bottom Line

The Apple iPhone 12 is a great phone, especially if you can get it for free from the government. So, if you meet the eligibility criteria mentioned above, don't hesitate to begin your application today.

Curious about other government phone offers? Explore our latest blog post discussing the possibility of acquiring a free iPhone 8 through government programs. Comparing different options may lead you to a choice that aligns perfectly with your needs. Dive deeper to make an informed decision on government-provided smartphones.

The government provides numerous opportunities for low-income families in need. To bridge the digital divide, you may also check out Gov Relations' guide to special deals on eligible devices. Specifically, you may find special deals on government cell phones and battery life efficient eligible devices like free government laptops that you may use for school or work!

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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