The Internet has become more and more important. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that there are programs meant to help households in need pay for their Internet connection, thus making it that much easier for them to work, study, and participate in other essential things. To name an example, there is the Affordable Connectivity Program, which is a federal program that covers some of the costs for households that meet the necessary conditions. Specifically, the Affordable Connectivity Program offers up to a $30 monthly discount for qualifying households and up to a $75 monthly discount for qualifying households on qualifying tribal lands. Furthermore, it offers up to a $100 discount on either a desktop, a laptop, or a tablet for qualifying households from participating providers, though qualifying households will need to pay more than $10 but less than $50 of the purchase price on their own. Please note that the first part of the program is available in every single month while the second part of the program is a one-time thing.
Who Is Eligible For the Affordable Connectivity Program?
Figuring out whether a household qualifies for the Affordable Connectivity Program is very simple. For starters, a household qualifies if it is earning 200 percent or less of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Please note that this sum differs based on the number of people in the household as well as the location of the household. Suppose that the household has a single person in it. They need to be making $27,180 or less if they are living in either D.C., the contiguous states, or one of the territories. In contrast, they need to be making either $33,980 or less if they are living in Alaska or $31,260 if they are living in Hawaii. When a household has two people in it, those numbers change to $36,620 or less for the first location, $45,780 or less for the second location, and $42,120 or less for the third location. Of course, interested individuals should know that they will be expected to provide proof of their information, which means either a tax return or three paystubs from consecutive periods.
Besides this, a household can also qualify if one of its members is participating in one of a number of government assistance programs. SNAP is one of these government assistance programs. Similarly, so are Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, and Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit. The other government assistance programs are the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, the School Breakfast Program, and the Federal Pell Grant. If interested individuals want to qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program through one of these government assistance programs, they are going to need to provide it by showing either a card, a letter, or some other official document.
As for households on qualifying tribal lands, they can meet the necessary conditions through a couple of general methods as well. First, there would be having a household income that is either 200 percent or less of the Federal Poverty Guideline, which is much the same as for households that are not on qualifying tribal lands. Second, there would be participating in one of a number of government assistance programs. Every single one of those that have been mentioned are included on this list. However, there are some extra ones, which would be General Assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Head Start, Tribal Temporary Assistance For Needy Families, and Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reserves. So long as the household is participating in one of these, they should be able to enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program as well. Some people might be familiar with Lifeline. It is another government assistance program that is meant to make communication services more affordable for those who are in need. However, it is offered by the Federal Communications Commission. Anyone who qualifies for Lifeline qualifies for the Affordable Connectivity Program as well. Something that can be very useful because interested individuals can make use of both government assistance programs for either the same service or different services. As such, combining them can make Internet even more affordable for them than otherwise possible. In fact, it has been said that people who are already enrolled in Lifeline can contact their Internet service provider to enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program, which can save them a fair amount of time and effort.
How Can You Enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program?
Other than that, there are a number of ways that interested individuals can apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program. First, there is the option to send an application through the Internet. This is the fastest option, so much so that some people can get approval right then and there. Unfortunately, it is also possible that interested individuals will need to offer supporting documentation before they are approved. Second, there is the option to send an application to the Affordable Connectivity Program's support center. This is slower because it takes time for mail to arrive, for mail to be processed, and then for mail to be sent back. Third, if interested individuals already have an Internet service provider, they might be able to get assistance with applying to the Affordable Connectivity Program from their Internet service provider. Once people have been enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program, they should check to see if their Internet service provider is participating in the government assistance program. If they are not, well, suffice to say that they have even more reason to check out the list so that they can find one that they can actually get a discount from. Besides this, interested individuals might also want to spend some time looking through the various plans offered by the Internet service providers that are available to them. After all, since they are getting a discount, they might be able to get a better plan at a better cost because of that. Something that they should definitely take advantage of if they can do so. Please note that interested individuals are also going to need to inform their Internet service provider once they have been enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program. Otherwise, they aren't going to get their discount.
Written by Dana Hanson
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