How to Get a Free Phone With New York Food Stamps

Are you on Food Stamps/SNAP or Medicaid in New York and want to learn more about how to get a free government cell phone? We have the information you need. In this post, we will walk you through how to get a free phone with New York food stamps or other government benefits programs. This is through the Lifeline program, a service created by the government to provide discounted or free phone service to income-eligible people.

"Free Phone With New York Food Stamps"

Table of Contents:

  • What is Lifeline Program?
  • How to Get a Free Phone With New York Food Stamps
  • Lifeline Cell Phone Providers in New York
  • Free Phone With New York Food Stamps FAQs

What is Lifeline Program?

The LifeLine government assistance program started in 1985 to help households, at or below the poverty level line, afford a means of communication.

The New York Lifeline Program (New York State Lifeline Discounted Telephone Service) is a state program that provides discounted home phone and cell phone services to eligible households.

The Lifeline discounts help consumers lower the cost of their phone bills.

Only one discount per household is allowed.

Each household must choose to get the discount either on a home phone or on a cell phone, but not on both.

How to Get a Free Phone With New York Food Stamps

There are three steps to getting a Lifeline phone:

Step 1: Qualify for Lifeline Program

There are two ways to qualify for the Lifeline phone program:

Option 1 – Participation in Certain federal assistance programs

If you participate in one of the following federal assistance programs, you may be eligible for the Lifeline phone program.

Participation by you or someone else in your household in one of the following federal assistance programs meets the eligibility requirements:

Federal ProgramsState Programs
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly Food StampsFamily Assistance/Safety Net Assistance
MedicaidNational School Lunch Program
Federal Public Housing Assistance
Veteran’s Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Tribal Programs including:
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Tribal Lands Head Start (if income eligibility criteria are met)

Option 2 – Qualification Based on Income

The first option to qualify for the Lifeline phone program is to meet the income limit.

If your household’s income is at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, you may be eligible for a Lifeline Program benefit.

We have provided the federal poverty guidelines below.

If your income is at or below the amount listed in the chart below for your household’s size, your household may be eligible for a Lifeline Program benefit.

Household SizeHousehold Income
Add $6,371 for each additional person.

Step 2: Choose a Lifeline Provider

You have to apply for Lifeline through a Lifeline phone or internet provider in your state. Scroll down below to see the list of Lifeline providers by state.

Step 3: Apply for the Lifeline Program

Ask your Lifeline provider for a Lifeline application. You will need the following information to apply:

What documentation do you need?

Here’s what you need to apply:

  1. Government Issued Photo ID or Driver’s License.
  2. One (1) Eligibility Document (like your program award letter)


  • Program award letter (i.e. SNAP or Medicaid) clearly showing your full name and program name
  • Document with your program ID, name, and benefit name
  • Letter from State Agency stating you receive the benefit


To prove your household income is at 135% or less of the federal poverty guidelines, you must submit one or more of the following

  • The prior year’s state, federal, or Tribal tax return
  • Current income statement from an employer or paycheck stub
  • A Social Security statement of benefits
  • A Veterans Administration statement of benefits
  • A retirement/pension statement of benefits
  • An Unemployment/Workers’ Compensation statement of benefit
  • Federal or Tribal notice letter of participation in General Assistance
  • Divorce decree, child support award, or other official document containing income information

Note: The Lifeline program gives up to a $9.25 monthly discount on phone or internet service. You can only use Lifeline for either phone or internet, but not both.

Lifeline Cell Phone Providers in New York

Scroll down below to see the Lifeline program providers in New York.

The list is divided into Cell Phone Providers and Home Phone Providers.

You can choose which program to take advantage of, based on your home situation.

However, you can only participate in one program per household.

This means that your lifeline benefits can be used to either get a cell phone service or a home phone.

Cell Phone Services

Below is a list of cell phone providers that participate in the Lifeline program in the state of New York.

Company NamePhone
Access Wireless866-594-3644
Verizon Wireless800-837-4966
Safelink Wireless800-723-3546
Air Voice Wireless877-247-7799
Assurance Wireless888-898-4888
Q Link Wireless855-754-6543

Home Phone Services

Below is a list of home phone providers that participate in the Lifeline program in the state of New York.

Company NamePhone
Xchange Telecom877-853-8350
Margaretville Telephone Company, Inc.845-586-3311
State Telephone Company518-731-6128
Windstream Communications800-347-1991
TDS Telecom/Deposit Telephone Company, Inc.888-225-5837
Oneida County Rural Telephone315-865-5201
Chazy Westport Communications888-298-5240
Empire Telephone Corporation607-522-3712
Nicholville Telephone Company315-328-4411
Broadview Networks Holding800-276-2384
TDS Telecom/Township Telephone Company, Inc.888-225-5837
TDS Telecom/Vernon Telephone Company, Inc.888-225-5837
Manhattan Telecommunications Corporation212-607-2000
PrimeLink, Inc.518-324-5465
Ontario Telephone Company, Inc.866-353-7209
BTI Communications888-541-3850
TDS Telecom/Oriskany Falls Telephone Corporation888-225-5837
Newport Telephone Company315-845-2000
Crown Point Telephone Corporation518-597-3300
The Hancock Telephone Company607-637-9911
Delhi Telephone Company607-746-1500
TDS Telecom/Edwards Telephone Company, Inc.888-225-5837
Champlain Telephone Company518-298-2411
Pattersonville Telephone Co518-887-2121
Consolidated Communications844-968-7224
Trumansburg Telephone Company866-353-7209
Frontier Communications800-921-8101
Armstrong Telephone Company724-283-0925
Middleburgh Telephone Company518-827-5211
TDS Telecom/Port Byron Telephone Company888-225-5837
Dunkirk and Fredonia Telephone Company (DFT)877-653-3100
Cassadaga Telephone Corporation716-673-3011

Free Phone With New York Food Stamps FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the New YorkLifeline program:

How is “One er Household” defined?

For the purposes of the Lifeline program, a household is defined as anyone living at the same address who share income and household expenses.

Only one Lifeline benefit is allowed per household. See below for examples of Household types.

Examples of 1 household:

  • A married couple who live together are one household. They must share one Lifeline discount.
  • A parent/guardian and child who live together are one household. They must share one Lifeline discount.
  • An adult who lives with friends or family who financially support him/her are one household. They must share one Lifeline discount.

Examples of 2+ households:

  • 4 roommates who live together but do not share money are 4 households. They can have one Lifeline discount each, 4 total.
  • 30 seniors who live in an assisted-living home are 30 households. They can have one Lifeline discount each, 30 total.

What comes with New York Lifeline Wireless Services?

According to Lifewireless, a Lifeline program provider in New York, here is what you get with their plan:

  • Nationwide Calling
  • Unlimited Text Messaging
  • Call Waiting
  • Three-way calling
  • Voicemail
  • Caller ID service
  • No roaming charges
  • No charge for domestic long-distance calls
  • Free 911 Service
  • Affordable Recharge Plans

What amount of Data do I get with Lifeline Cell Phone Service in New York?

Qualified customers will receive 6GB of Data and 100 international SMS each month.

See below for details from TAG Mobile, a New York Lifeline Provider.

What can I do with 6GB of Data?

According to Assurance Wireless, with 6GB of data, you can:

With 6GB of data a month you can:

  • Send 750 text-only emails, view 1500 web pages and listen to 60 hours of streaming music and talk using a web app for 60 hours, OR
  • Stream 15 hours of video

Note that data speeds may vary. These examples are estimates. Actual data usage varies by App and streaming quality.

"Free phone with New York SNAP - Lifeline Program"

Who are the Top Free Government Phone Providers in New York?

Here are the most well-known companies providing free government phone services through the lifeline program:

  • Safelink Wireless.
  • Access Wireless.
  • Q Link Wireless.
  • Assurance Wireless.

Are there any restrictions with the New York Lifeline Program?

Do any restrictions apply to the New York LifeLine and federal Lifeline Programs?

Yes, the following restrictions apply:

  • New York Lifeline discounts are only available to individuals who participate in a qualifying government program or are income-eligible.
  • Discounts provided by the New York LifeLine and federal Lifeline programs are limited to one per household and are non-transferable.
  • The address you provide for your phone service must be your place of residence, whether permanent or temporary.
  • You may not resell your Life Wireless handset or give it to anyone outside your household to use.

Free Phone With New York Food Stamps Summary

We hope this post on the free phone with New York food stamps was helpful.

For a list of Free Museum Admission with EBT Card, click here: Free Admission with New York EBT Card.

To see a list of Restaurants that take EBT in New York, click here: List of Restaurants that take SNAP EBT in New York.

For New York EBT FAQs, click here: New York EBT FAQs.


If you have further questions about New York SNAP or EBT Card, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles about New York Food Stamps and EBT, including:

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