Have you been wanting to own a tablet for your school work or just personal use but couldn’t afford it? In this guide, I’ll be showing you how to get free tablet for low income families that the government has been sponsoring for over a year. If a student, you can even qualify for your own and also help your parents back at home get one for your younger siblings.
The free tablet from the government is not something new to some of us- millions have already applied. It first came to be in mid-May 2021 under the emergency broadband benefit (EBB). The broadband benefit would include a $50 to $75 discount on internet service and up to a $100 one-time offer on a connected device.
A “connected device” would be a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet PC. But back then, there weren’t many providers participating in this program as we do today.
You Now Get a Free Tablet under Affordable Connectivity Program
When the EBB program came out, the government’s idea was to help low-income families afford broadband. However, this program was somewhat of a temporary thing. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had even stated the benefit would end when the allotted funds were expended.
Well, late in 2021, the government created a $1.2 Trillion budget for infrastructure expansion. And from this budget, $14.1 billion was to create a longer-term affordable connectivity program (ACP) that would replace EBB.
As I’ve mentioned on the Cricket Wireless EBB program before transitioning to ACP, the new program had two main changes. The first change would be that it (ACP) would be lasting a little longer than EBB. Then for the benefit to last longer, the FCC decided to reduce the subsidy they offered for the broadband band.
The good news is the $100 discount on a connected device remained after the ACP takeover. So, you can still get a free tablet for low income families if you meet the requirements.
You Must be Eligible to Get Free Tablet For Low Income Families
The free ACP free tablet from government is only available to the people who deserve to have one. And the people who deserve it are the low-income families who are struggling to meet the necessities.
As funny as it may sound, cellular and internet connectivity is now an essential need, not a luxury as in the past. You can use them to connect with your family, friends, physician, employers, clients, or utility providers within seconds. It’s the reason the government has been sponsoring Lifeline so you can get free cell phone service in the first place, even before EBB or ACP came.
Speaking of the Lifeline, the criteria to qualify for the ACP and its perks, such as the free tablet, are pretty much the same. I mean, you must have proof of either a low income from your employment or participation in a federal assistance program.
If applying for the tablet with proof of low income, the rule is that the total amount of your household should be at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. The income gap on the poverty guidelines has been changing, or rather increasing over the years. Thus, I’d advise you to make sure you’re using the most current glossary for better chances of qualifying.
As for the qualification by a federal assistance program, you will need either of the approved options, such as:
- Medicaid benefit
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- A Veterans Pensions & Survivors Benefit
- Federal Public Housing Assistance Program (FPHA)
- Student’s Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Food Stamps
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- School Lunch or School Breakfast Program (including from the USDA Community Eligibility Provision)
- Head Start, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, and other Tribal programs
Note: The programs above are usually only available to low-income families. However, the process to apply and eligibility requirements (such as income level) vary from program to program.
How to Get Free Tablet for Low Income Families
If you fit in either of the two eligibility categories above, it will be straightforward to get the free tablet for low-income families. You just need to get an official document that will prove you’re indeed eligible, such as:
- Proof of low income at or below 200% of poverty guidelines. Some documents you can use include a paycheck stub, tax return, or statement of current income, retirement/ pension benefit, social security benefit, and worker’s compensation
- Proof of participating in a government assistance program. Some documents you can use are a letter of approval/ verification and a statement of the benefit you’re using.
Besides the proof of eligibility, when applying for the free tablet with ACP, you’ll need proof of identity and residence:
- Proof of identity is just any of the official documents with your full name and date of birth. A few examples include a valid ID card, birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, Green card, et cetera. If applying as a minor under 18 years old, you will need proof of your emancipation status (such as an official court document or emancipation certificate).
- Proof of physical address of where you live, such as a valid driver’s license, utility bill, tax return, lease or mortgage statement, and others.
Apply on National Verifier or Directly with the Service Provider
Once with the necessary documents, you can register for ACP on the National Verifier or go directly to the participating providers.
The National Verifier is the body of FCC that verifies your application information on ACP. It’s also the body that verifies your information when you apply for the Lifeline program. Hence, the reason some carriers will have a separate button for Lifeline users to apply quickly.
When you apply for ACP directly from service providers, they usually don’t verify the documents themselves. When you upload the docs with your application, the provider will forward them to the National Verifier.
Once the National Verifier has approved your ACP application, lifeline carriers often start processing it right away. (Fixed internet service providers and prepaid carriers on ACP will need you to come back to their website to complete enrollment).
How fast you’ll now get your free tablet depends on the service provider you’ve enrolled with for the program. Some will take less than a week and others two weeks or more.
The Best Providers You Can Get Free Tablet for Low Income Families
While many providers are participating in the affordable connectivity program, only a few covers the $100 discount for a connected device. They include:
|Free Tablets Available
|Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Lenovo, etc
|Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Lenovo, etc.
|Sky Devices Elite T8
|BLU M8L, FOXXD T8, Maxwest, etc.
|HP Puya Tab or Sky Devices Elite
|Sky Devices Elite, Vortex Tab 8, & NUU Tab
|T-Mobile & AT&T
|Benton OXTAB 10 Tablet PC
|Q Link Wireless
|Q Link Scepter 8 Tab
|Cloud Mobile Sunshine Elite
|MOOLAH Mobile Tab
|BLU M10L PRO
I’m sure there are other providers you can get free tablet for low income families, considering 1600+ companies are participating in ACP. But the thirteen here are the only ones I’ve been able to dig up the kind of tablet you can get:
Cintex Wireless, one of the many carriers offering Lifeline and ACP service through T-Mobile, has the overall best free tablet for low income families. Some of the tablet brands you can expect include:
- Apple iPad 4, with 32GB built-in storage & 1GB RAM
- Apple iPad 3, with 32GB built-in storage & 1GB RAM
- Alcatel Joy Tab 2, with 32GB built-in storage & 3GB RAM
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, with 32GB built-in storage & 4GB RAM
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, with 32GB built-in storage & 3GB RAM
AirTalk Wireless is a sister brand of Cintex Wireless, whereby you can get both lifeline and ACP benefits. It also runs off T-Mobile and is amongst the companies you can get a decent free tablet for low income families, such as:
- Apple iPad 4, with 32GB built-in storage & 1GB RAM
- Apple iPad Mini, with 32GB built-in storage & 0.5GB RAM
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, with 32GB built-in storage & 3GB RAM
- Samsung Galaxy Tab E, with 16GB built-in storage & 1.5GB RAM
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 2020, with 32GB built-in storage & 3GB RAM
EnTouch Wireless is the overall best lifeline carrier in terms of coverage on my list. It pings back to Verizon towers, which you should know has the best coverage in the country, including in remote areas.
EnTouch Wireless also has some free tablets to give if you’re eligible for the ACP benefit. The kind of tablet you can expect from the operator is mostly a Sky Devices model, as the mobile operator uses the same company (Sky Devices) for government phones.
Torch Wireless is one of the few lifeline providers that use the AT&T network to offer free government cell phone service. You can also apply for the ACP benefit, which not only includes the discount on the broadband connection. But you can also get the free tablet for low income families, which can either be:
- BLU M8L, with 32GB built-in storage & 1GB RAM
- FOXXD T8, with 16GB built-in storage & 2GB RAM
- XMOBILE X8, with 32GB built-in storage & 3GB RAM
- Maxwest Nitro 8, with 32GB built-in storage & 3GB RAM
- Maxwest Astro 8q, with 32GB built-in storage & 2GB RAM
- Hyundai HYTAB PLUS 8LB1, 32GB built-in storage & 3GB RAM
Easy Wireless is another mobile provider that uses the T-Mobile network to offer both Lifeline and ACP service. It’s also one of the dozen that are handing out free tablet to low income families. And the kind of tablet you are likely to get on this offer is a Sky Devices Elite T8 tablet, with 32GB built-in storage & 2GB RAM.
StandUP Wireless is yet another cell phone provider that has made a deal with T-Mobile to use their network. And as a lifeline operator, you can get a free government cell phone service and an 8-inch tablet with ACP.
The kind of tablet StandUp Wireless will give you once eligible for this government program is most likely:
- Sky Devices Elite T8, with 32GB built-in storage & 2GB RAM
- Vortex Tab 8, with 32GB built-in storage & 3GB RAM
- NUU Tab 8 4G LTE, with 32GB built-in storage & 3GB RAM
Sarver Wireless is an internet service provider based in Los Angeles, California that offers service through T-Mobile. It has a license to operate in all states and has also registered with USAC to participate in ACP benefit, which comes with a one-time tablet. The tablet you get with the offer can be either:
- HP Puya 10.1” Tab, with 32GB built-in storage & 3GB RAM
- Sky Devices Elite T10, with 32GB built-in storage & 64GB RAM
Q Link Wireless
If your area has good T-Mobile coverage, Q Link is another decent lifeline provider you can consider for the ACP benefit. It gives you up to 28GB (sometimes 30GB) of high-speed mobile data. Then you can also get a free 8-inch tablet PC.
The kind of tablet Q Link Wireless gives you when you enroll for ACP with them is most likely Q Link Scepter 8. HP (Hot Pepper) now designs the tablet with 16GB/ 32GB of built-in storage and 2GB RAM.
TruConnect is still another decent service provider on the T-Mobile network you can apply for the ongoing affordable connectivity program. The program comes with a monthly service, as well as a free tablet PC for a better viewing experience.
The kind of tablet TruConnect give you if eligible for the ACP is the Cloud Mobile Sunshine Elite, with 16GB of built-in storage. But like others on this program, you may get a different model if this particular one is unavailable.
Unity Wireless is a perfect option you get to apply for the free cell phone service from the government with the best GSM network in your area. It has made a network deal with both T-Mobile and AT&T, whereby you have access to even their 5G towers.
Furthermore, Unity Wireless is participating in the ongoing ACP benefit, which includes a discount on both service and a connected device. The “connected device” you will get here is a 10-inch tablet, which my research has led me to a Benton OXTAB 10, with 32GB built-in storage & 3GB RAM.
If in a location where AT&T is the only decent cellular network, MOOLAH Wireless is also participating in the ongoing ACP benefit. The benefit even brings you a free tablet for low income families, whereby you will get the 10-inch MOOLAH Mobile Tab, with 32GB built-in storage and 3GB RAM.
Similarly, Maxsip Telecom offers wireless internet service through AT&T towers. The service provider is also participating in the affordable connectivity program, where you can get a discount on both the service and a one-time offer of a tablet.
The free tablet for low income families you will get with Maxsip Telecom is currently the recently-released BLU M8L model, with 32GB built-in storage and 3GB RAM. But if this is unavailable, you may get the first generation BLU M8L, with 32GB/ 1GB memory.
Last but not least, we have Excess Telecom, a wireless phone provider that also operates from California. The provider offers service across all states in the country, which, by the way, comes through T-Mobile towers. And since the service is only about the affordable connectivity program, you will also get a one-time discount on a tablet.
After hours of waiting, Excess Telecom replied to my query that they currently give the BLU M10l Pro with 32GB memory for the free government tablet. But you may get a different model, as whatever they send often depends on the stock available.
Common Related Questions
Do I need to pay anything for the free tablet for low income families?
Unfortunately, only MOOLAH Wireless, out of the dozen providers on my list, you don’t have to pay anything for the free tablet. MOOLAH Wireless claims its partner, MOOLAH Mobile, pays for the $10.01 fee the FCC ask the participating providers to charge their users.
How can I get a free tablet for low income families?
The process how to get a free tablet for low income families starts with gathering the necessary documents. The documents include proof of eligibility, identity, and place of residence.
Once you have these documents, you can now go to the official website of either provider on my list here and tap the “Apply” or “Enroll” button. Then follow the onscreen instructions to complete the application.
What kind of free tablet does Cintex Wireless give you?
Unfortunately, almost all companies participating in the ACP benefit give you an entry-level device for the free tablet. Only the HTH Communications brands I’ve seen stock more decent brands for the offer. For instance, the kind of tablet Cintex Wireless gives you can be either:
Apple iPad 4 32/ 1GB memory
Apple iPad 3 32/ 1GB memory
Alcatel Joy Tab 2 32/ 3GB memory
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 32/ 4GB memory
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 32/ 3GB memory
Is the free tablet for low income families worth it?
Depends. If you don’t set your expectations too high, the free tablet for low income families is worth it. They all come with at least an 8-inch display that has a better viewing experience than a smartphone. Then some providers on the programs, such as Cintex and AirTalk Wireless, give you tablets like Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab that you can handle heavier tasks.
Remember To Re-Enroll After Every Year
Well, that’s about everything crucial you should know on how to get free tablet for low income families. And just like when the offer was on the EBB, the program is pretty straightforward to get under the affordable connectivity program.
The only thing you need to have is a copy of the official document that proves your identity, eligibility, and physical address. Then when the National Verifier examines and determines your information as truthful, the service provider you’ve opted to use will start processing your tablet order.
However, do remember the FCC requires the users of Lifeline or ACP to qualify for the benefits every year. And for that, you will need to re-enroll with your service provider after every twelve months. But you won’t be getting a free tablet this time since the government offers it as a one-time discount.