[Renewed] Low-Income U.S. Residents Can Get $30 Monthly Discount On Internet Bill With Government Program


Update 2/13/22: This program is now substituted with a new one called Affordable Connectivity Program. The benefit has been reduced from $50 to $30 (those who were enrolled during 2021 will continue to see their $50 benefit through March 1st). More people can now qualify for the benefit; for example, previously you needed income below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and now it is 200%. There are other ways to qualify as well.  Hat tip to reader Alex

Update 5/19/21: Billing adjustments are already showing up for some who have applied. Hat tip to reader Erik

Original Post 5/12/21:

Starting today (5/12/21), low-income U.S. residents can take advantage of a new government program called the Emergency Broadband Benefit which gives a $50 monthly subsidy on your internet broadband cost. The funds are directly paid to your provider and reduces the cost of your monthly bill.

FCC link | Dedicated Website | Qualification Details | FAQ

A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

That’s a long list of things that make someone eligible, and I imagine many readers will be able to make use of this program. It can amount to hundreds in savings since it appears the program will be around for many months (“program will end once the program funds are exhausted, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, whichever comes first”).

Seems like the federal link is overloaded, you might have more success with your carrier’s website. See this SD post for direct links to the various internet providers discussing this benefit.

$100 Benefit

The program also offers eligible households a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

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