Skip to Content

Free Government Phone in Illinois | Claim Your ACP Smartphone

This post is about Free Government Phones in Illinois through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). If you are a low-income individual or household, you can get a free smartphone like the iPhone through the Illinois ACP program.

In this post, we will cover the Affordable Connectivity Program in the state of Illinois, including the benefits of the program, eligibility criteria, how to apply, and FAQs.

If you already know what the ACP program is about and you qualify, you can sign up with our partner – TruConnect by clicking here.

The entire application takes only 10 minutes to complete.

If you are not sure you qualify or would like to check your eligibility, continue reading below.

*Our website receives a small commission when you sign up with TrueConnect, at no cost to you.

Table of Contents:

  • Free Government Phone in Illinois – Illinois ACP
  • How Does the ACP Work?
  • Benefits of the Affordable Connectivity Program
  • How to Qualify for Free Government Phone in Illinois
  • How to Sign up for Free Government Phone in Illinois
  • Frequently Asked Questions about the Illinois ACP

Free Government Phone Illinois

Free Government Phone in Illinois – Illinois ACP

Internet connectivity has become an important part of daily life. Having access to high-speed broadband is now essential for work, education, healthcare, and communication.

Unfortunately, for many low-income households, the cost of reliable internet remains a significant barrier.

In response to this challenge, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) introduced the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to provide a lifeline to those in need.

In the state of Illinoisa, there are over 150 companies approved to provide ACP services to low-income individuals and households.

How Does the ACP Work?

Through the Affordable Connectivity Program, qualified households can avail themselves of a monthly discount of up to $30 towards their internet service.

For those residing on qualifying Tribal lands, the discount is even more generous, reaching up to $75 per month.

In addition to this, eligible households are also entitled to a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.

How to Sign up for Free Government Phone in Illinois

Here’s how to sign up for the ACP program in Illinois:

Click here to Sign up for ACP with TruConnect

You can complete the entire ACP application with one click using the TrueConnect link above.

It only takes 10 minutes to complete from start to finish.

*Our website receives a small commission when you sign up with TrueConnect, at no cost to you.

For other available options for signing up for the ACP program in Illinois, continue reading below.

Benefits of the Affordable Connectivity Program

The ACP offers a range of benefits, primarily focusing on making internet service affordable, accessible, and reliable for low-income households. These advantages include:

  • Affordable Internet: The program significantly reduces the monthly cost of Internet service, making it more manageable for families on a tight budget.
  • Faster Speeds: With minimum download speeds of 100 Mbps, ACP recipients can enjoy seamless video conferencing, streaming, and other online activities.
  • Device Discounts: Eligible households can purchase discounted laptops, desktop computers, or tablets, empowering them to participate in remote work and educational opportunities.

What most ACP Providers Offer

When you sign up for ACP with a provider in Illinois, this is what a typical cell phone package looks like:

You get could get:

  • Free Monthly Unlimited Texts and Minutes plus Unlimited Data including 25GB High-Speed Data
  • A Free Smartphone
  • $0 cell phone bill
  • No annual contracts. No activation fees.

How to Qualify for Free Government Phone in Illinois

Here are the ways your household can qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP):

  • Based on your household income
  • If you or your child or dependent participate in certain government assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, or other programs
  • If you or anyone in your household already receives a Lifeline benefit

Illinois ACP Eligibility Based on Your Income

You are eligible for the ACP if your income is 200% or less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines (see the table below). The guideline is based on your household size and state.

The table below reflects the income limit by household size, which is 200% of the 2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Household Size 48 Contiguous States, D.C., and Territories Alaska Hawaii
1 $29,160 $36,420 $33,540
2 $39,440 $49,280 $45,360
3 $49,720 $62,140 $57,180
4 $60,000 $75,000 $69,000
5 $70,280 $87,860 $80,820
6 $80,560 $100,720 $92,640
7 $90,840 $113,580 $104,460
8 $101,120 $126,440 $116,280
For each additional person, add: $10,280 $12,860 $11,820

You may have to show proof of income, like a tax return or three consecutive pay stubs, when you apply for the ACP.

Illinois ACP Eligibility-Based Government Assistance Programs

You are eligible for the ACP if you (or someone in your household) participate in one of these programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
  • Medicaid
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) (including Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (Section 8 Vouchers), Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)/202/811, Public Housing, and Affordable Housing Programs for American Indians, Alaska Natives or Native Hawaiians)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
  • Lifeline

TruConnect Free Phone Program

How to Sign up for Free Government Phone in Illinois

Here’s how to sign up for ACP program in Illinois:

Sign up with TruConnect

You can complete the entire ACP application with one click using the TrueConnect link above.

Click below to begin your application. It only takes 10 minutes to complete.

*Our website receives a small commission when you sign up with TrueConnect, at no cost to you.

Other Options to sign up for ACP in Illinois

Here are other ways to sign up for Free Government Phone in Illinois through ACP.

  1. Go to GetInternet.gov to submit an application or print out a mail-in application.
  2. Contact your preferred participating provider to select a plan and have the discount applied to your bill.

For a list of other participating providers in Illinois, click here to search the FCC’s ACP database.

Additionally, we have provided a list of some of the ACP providers in Illinois in the FAQs below.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Illinois ACP

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the ACP program and how to get a free government phone and service.

Are there other programs I may qualify for?

Yes, there is another FCC program called Lifeline. It helps to lower the monthly cost of phone or internet service.

The benefits of the Lifeline Program include:

  • A service discount of up to $9.25/month, or;
  • A service discount of up to $34.25/month if you live on qualifying Tribal lands

To apply for Lifeline, click here.

How do I prove my Income for the Illinois ACP Application?

There are several ways you can prove your gross annual income.

You must provide documentation that clearly shows your income information, such as:

  • Prior year’s state, federal, or Tribal tax return
  • Current income statement from an employer or paycheck stub
  • Social Security statement of benefits
  • Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation statement of benefits
  • Divorce decree, child support award, or other official document containing income information

Additionally, if you are providing documentation of income that does not cover a full year, such as current pay stubs, the documentation must cover three months in a row within the past twelve months.

What if I also need help getting a tablet or computer?

The Affordable Connectivity Program recognizes the importance of devices for accessing the internet.

ACP-eligible households can receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from certain participating providers.

To avail of this discounted device, applicants may need to pay a small copayment ranging from $10.01 to $49.99.

It’s important to note that the device discount is in addition to the monthly service discount. However, please be aware that the device discount is limited to one per household.

How much is my Affordable Connectivity Program benefit?

The amount of the ACP benefit varies depending on individual circumstances.

In general, most eligible families can receive a monthly service discount of up to $30, which can be applied to their internet service bill.

For households residing on qualifying Tribal lands, the benefit can be as high as $75 per month.

These discounts significantly alleviate the financial burden of internet access, making it more accessible to low-income families.

Are the ACP Phone data plans fast?

Yes! The ACP ensures that participating internet service providers offer plans with a minimum download speed of 100 Mbps.

Such speeds are considered fast enough to meet the needs of a typical family of four.

This allows families to engage in various online activities simultaneously, including video conferencing, streaming movies or TV shows, and more.

Can I receive both the Affordable Connectivity Program and Lifeline benefits?

Yes, you can receive both the ACP and Lifeline benefits simultaneously, if eligible.

The Lifeline program, similar to the ACP, is another FCC initiative aimed at making communications services more affordable for low-income consumers.

If you currently receive a Lifeline benefit, you automatically qualify for the ACP, and you can enjoy the benefits of both programs at the same time.

Furthermore, you have the flexibility to apply your ACP benefit and your Lifeline benefit to the same qualifying service or separately to different services, even if they are provided by the same or different companies.

Can I get Illinois SNAP if my children are Free School Lunch?

Yes. If your children are receiving Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch, you may be eligible for Illinois food stamps.

Below is the income limit and amount of Illinois food stamps benefits you may receive based on your household size.

Illinois SNAP Income Eligibility Standards for Fiscal Year 2024
Effective October 1, 2023 – September 30, 2024
Household Size Monthly Net Income (100% of FPL) Monthly Gross Income for Households with Disabled or Elderly Members (165% of FPL) Monthly Gross Income for Households with Elderly or Disabled Members (200% of FPL)
1 $1,215 $2,005 $2,430
2 $1,644 $2,712 $3,288
3 $2,072 $3,419 $4,144
4 $2,500 $4,125 $5,000
5 $2,929 $4,832 $5,858
6 $3,357 $5,539 $6,714
7 $3,785 $6,246 $7,570
8 $4,214 $6,951 $8,428
Each Additional Household Member: Add $429 $707 $858

Where can I get a list of Illinois ACP providers?

You can search the FCC’s database to locate an ACP provider in Illinois.

Click here to be taken to the ACP provider database.

Additionally, we have provided a short list of some of the Illinois ACP providers below.

Note that the list below is not comprehensive.

List of Illinois ACP Providers for FREE Government Phone

Company Name Phone Type of Service $0 with ACP
Discounted Device
Infiniti Mobile 214-323-8000 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
Excess Telecom, Inc. 800-615-0898 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
GAIA 5G 636-339-4242 Home Internet Yes Yes
Sage Telecom Communications, LLC 800-430-0443 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
Hoop Wireless, LLC 833-367-4667 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
Sarver Wireless 888-744-8950 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
Selectel Wireless 877-218-5744 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
SafetyNet Wireless 888-224-3213 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
NewPhone Wireless, LLC 855-204-3667 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
Cintex Wireless, LLC 800-931-0141 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
AT&T Mobility LLC 866-986-0963 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
Boftech 248-905-1907 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
Global Connection Inc. of America 800-544-4441 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
PCs for People 651-354-2552 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
Sano Health LLC 866-970-7299 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
Nextab, LLC 516-453-6200 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
SprintFone 833-877-2433 Home Internet Yes Yes
GAIA 5G 636-339-4242 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
Snapfon 800-937-1532 Mobile Internet Yes Yes
Q Link Wireless LLC 855-754-6543 Mobile Internet Yes Yes

Who is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and what benefits does it offer?

To be eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), you need to meet certain criteria, and only one member of your household needs to qualify.

Eligibility criteria include:

  1. Meeting the criteria for a participating provider’s low-income internet program.
  2. Receiving a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
  3. Participating in specific assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, Veterans Pension, or Lifeline.
  4. Living on Qualifying Tribal lands and participating in relevant assistance programs.

If you qualify, the ACP provides benefits that include up to a $30/month discount for internet service, up to $75/month discount for households on qualifying Tribal lands, and a one-time discount of up to $100 for an internet-capable device purchased through a participating provider.

How do I apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?

To apply for the ACP, follow these steps:

  1. Go to AffordableConnectivity.gov and submit an application online or print out a mail-in application.
  2. After successfully applying, contact your preferred participating internet service provider to select a service plan and have the ACP discount applied to your bill.

It’s essential to note that some providers may have their own application process, so make sure to apply for the ACP before contacting a provider.

You can complete the application in either English or Spanish.

Can I switch internet service providers and still keep the ACP discount?

Yes, you can switch internet service providers and maintain your ACP discount if you qualify.

When enrolling with a new provider, inform them that you are eligible for the ACP and provide your application ID number received after successfully applying for the program.

This will ensure that the discount continues to be applied to your internet bill.

Summary – Free Government Phone in Illinois

Here’s the bottom line about the Free Government Phone in Illinois:

The Free Government Phone in Illinois aims to ensure that low-income households can afford essential broadband services.

There are three different ways to qualify for the ACP benefit in Illinois.

You are eligible if your income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Additionally, you can qualify if you participate in the Lifeline program or certain government assistance programs.

Questions?

We hope this post on Free Government Phone in Illinois was helpful.

If you have further questions about the Affordable Connectivity Program in Illinois, please let us know in the comments section below.

In the meantime, be sure to check out our other articles on SNAP EBT and Food Stamps:

Kwame Kuadey

Kwame Kuadey writes about personal finance and the social safety net. His career started in banking but he caught the entrepreneurial bug and has spent the last decade building successful businesses, including an Inc. 500 Company. Kwame believes everyone has the power to improve their quality of life by seeking knowledge and taking action. In 2012, Kwame founded Empower Media to help low-income households improve their financial situation. His expertise is in topics relevant to low-income households, including government benefits and assistance, banking products, access to credit, plus tools & resources to help reduce income volatility and build wealth. Kwame has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, Washington Post, ABC, and NPR.

Comments

comments