Communication service helps to stay connected with jobs, schools, doctors, etc. During a pandemic, lots of connected activities relied on reliable Wi-Fi and phone services. The Federal Communication Commission has initiated two programs that offer discounts on phone and internet services to low & moderate-income households.
Lifeline discounted phone & internet service
The FCC administered Lifeline program offers a discount of up to $9.25 every month on eligible bundled internet/phone service or Wi-Fi in every state to low income households. For voice-only service, the program offers a markdown of up to $5.25. The repayment is made directly to the partaking service providers, which results in low bills.
- Household has an income below or at 135% of Federal Poverty recommendations
- Household member or you receive benefits from any one of the following – Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, FPHA, Veteran & survivor benefits, or specific Tribal programs.
Before applying for the Lifeline program, use the national verifier tool on Assurance Wireless to check your eligibility. FCC has established National Eligibility Verifier system, where subscribers have to enter their Zip Code and verify.
While applying specific documents will be needed as eligibility proof like a tax return, pay slip or a letter or document that demonstrates you are enrolled in an approved assistance program.
For Tribal Lifeline program, you need to reside in recognized Tribal lands as well as have income below or at 135% of Federal Poverty rules or must be enrolled in Federal assistance or tribal programs. The Tribal Lifeline program offers a bargain up to $35.25.
Lifeline discounted broadband service
People who desire to lessen their monthly phone service cost can apply for Lifeline discounted broadband service. The program includes access to Internet Essentials [Comcast], AT &T, Spectrum Internet Assist [Charter], and several nonprofits & service providers.
The eligible subscriber can gain benefits up to $30 on monthly broadband service, while Tribal land residents can enjoy $75 per month. The eligibility criteria for the low-income broadband program differ from one company to another.
Affordable Connectivity program
Lifeline program subscribers and low/moderate-income households can get internet service discounts up to $30 every month [Tribal land resident -$75] under ACP or Affordable Connectivity Program. FCC replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit with ACP. EBB was a temporary subsidy offered during a pandemic to help subscribers stay connected. ACP is long-term and available to many homes.
Eligible households can get a one-time discount of up to $100 for buying a desktop, laptop, or tablet from partaking service providers, if you contribute $10 to $50 towards the purchase price. Just one device and one monthly discount are allowed per home. Benefits are directly paid to the partaking service provider, so you receive low bills. Subscribers can switch partaking service providers and even carry their benefits.
- Consumers can present official document verifying their existing income detail like unemployment benefit payment notice or submitted unemployment benefit application notice.
- After eligibility approval from USAC, the subscriber is offered 90 days to select Lifeline service provider.
- Lifeline subscribers gaining free service need to use their communication service or they can get unlisted from the program.