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Starting today, select Americans can apply for a government-backed program that’ll lower the cost of their home internet connection.
The new subsidy program, called the Emergency Broadband Benefit, will be administered by the Federal Communications Commission.
Those who qualify for the program will receive up to a $50 discount on their monthly internet bill.
Read on to find out who qualifies for the program and how to apply.
Do You Qualify?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is available only to select Americans who fall below the 135% poverty level, are already on some form of government assistance, or have suffered economic hardship due to COVID-19.
Per the FCC, eligible participants must meet one of the following criteria:
- Have an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in specific assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline.
- Are 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.
- Have 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 (household total income in 2020 must be at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers).
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Customers also must have internet service through an approved provider. Potential applicants can view a list of all providers, organized by state, on the FCC’s website.
How to Apply
Applying for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program begins on May 12, 2021. Eligible internet customers can signup using their provider’s website or at the FCC’s GetEmergencyBroadband.org website.
What Happens Next?
Customers who are eligible for the subsidy automatically will be enrolled in the program once they apply. Customers won’t receive any cash. Instead, recipients will receive a discount on their bill from the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. Customers are then responsible for the remainder of their bill each month.