How The New $50-A-Month Emergency Broadband Benefit Works
If you want to save money on your internet bill each month or you’re struggling to make sure your bills are paid and need internet in your home, here is some information that you want to read about. There’s a new Emergency Broadband Benefit that is meant to help families due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial situations that have occurred. The goal of the benefit is to help keep families connected so that they can look for work, work from home, and stay in classes.
A discount of up to $50 will be offered by the benefit for those who qualify. You do need to complete an application to see if you’re eligible. Those who live on Tribal Lands could qualify for up to a $75 discount on their broadband internet bill. If you’re eligible, you can get a $100 discount that can be used toward various types of equipment that are needed, such as a tablet or a laptop. Families would need to pay more than $10 but less than $50 toward the overall price of the equipment and would need to purchase the items from a company that participates in the benefits program.
There are a few criteria that you need to meet in order to be eligible for the benefit that’s offered. One person in the home needs to only meet one criterion out of a long list. The household income needs to be at or below 135% that is determined by the Federal Poverty Guidelines. You would also be eligible if your household receives SNAP benefits, Medicaid, or Lifeline. If someone in your home receives free or reduced lunch or breakfast through a school program, then you would likely be eligible. You would be eligible if you received a Federal Pell Grant during the designated time period for the program. If you have had a significant decrease in your income since February 29, 2020, then you would likely be eligible. Keep in mind that you would need to have an income of less than $99,000 if you’re single and less than $198,000 if you file with someone else. Some providers have their own criteria that you would need to meet as well.
You can apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program in a few different ways. Your internet provider should have information about whether or not it’s participating in the program. If the provider is participating, then you can apply through the company. This is usually the easiest way to apply as the provider will know how much the discount would be and can directly apply it to your bill. Another way would be to apply through the GetEmergencyBroadband.org website. All of the details about eligibility criteria are posted on the website as well as an application. You can also see a list of service providers if you want to contact a company and apply that way. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can call 833-511-0311 to talk to have an application mailed to you that you would then send back to the address listed on the form. You would need to send in proof of your eligibility with your application in order for it to be processed. Once you know how much your family qualifies for, you can then talk to your provider about obtaining equipment and getting a discount on your bill.