Starting today, eligible Americans can take advantage of a new government subsidy designed to offset the cost of getting connected at home.
The ongoing pandemic has made the importance of a dependable broadband connection at home abundantly clear, but connections like that aren’t always easy for Americans to afford. Now, the Federal Communications Commission wants to help with a new subsidy program called the Emergency Broadband Benefit. Those who qualify can sign up starting May 12 — that’s today — to receive $50 off their monthly internet bill, among other benefits.
Sound good to you? Here’s how to tell if you qualify, how you can enroll, and everything else you should know.
Step 1: Determine your eligibility
The Emergency Broadband Benefit isn’t open to everyone. Eligibility is limited, so you’ll need someone in your household who qualifies in order to opt in.
There are several ways to qualify. The first is income-based. Any household with an income less than or equal to 135% of federal poverty guidelines qualifies. That figure is weighted by the number of people who live in your home and also by where you live, as the poverty line is set higher in Alaska and Hawaii than it is in the 48 contiguous states. Here’s how those numbers look in chart form
If you make more than that, you may still be eligible. Anyone who experienced a “substantial loss of income” after Feb. 29, 2020 qualifies so long as their 2020 income was at or below $99,000 for a single filer or $198,000 for joint filers.
Additionally, your home qualifies if anyone in your household:
- Qualifies for Lifeline benefits through participation in SNAP, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit.
- Received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year.
- Received approval for benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program in the 2019-20 or 2020-21 school year.
- Meets the eligibility criteria for an FCC-approved provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Eligibility also extends to any household participating in one of a number of tribal-specific assistance programs, including Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Head Start and Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. If your home is on qualifying tribal lands, the benefit goes up to $75 per month instead of $50.
Internet providers in your area
Step 2: Obtain proof of eligibility
You’ll need to demonstrate your eligibility for the program when you apply, so be prepared to gather a document or two. Specifically, you’ll need to show proof of your stated income, such as a pay stub or a tax return. If you need to show a loss of income, you’ll also need to offer a termination letter, an application for unemployment benefits, a furlough notice or something similar.
Eligible by way of another program, like a Pell Grant or reduced-price school lunches? Be prepared to show a card, letter or other official document as proof of participation when you apply. ReadMore
Source : cnet