Do you know that the new Affordable Connectivity Program helps low-income individuals and families afford internet access? This discount program also covers certain internet-connected devices, like laptops and tablets. If you qualify, you can receive discounted internet access at home. In some cases, you can also get government discounts on things like laptops, tablets or desktop computers. Disabled people and seniors that get SSI each month are just one group that will qualify.
What is the Affordable Connectivity Program?
The Affordable Connectivity Program is a federal effort to make sure more households have internet access. This helps people with little to no income connect to school, work, and healthcare, as well as other services.
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) administers the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The FCC is an independent government agency overseen by Congress. It is the federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing our communications laws and regulations.
The ACP pays $30 per month directly to internet access providers for each qualifying household. That ACP benefit is $75 per month for any eligible household on qualifying Tribal land.
Additionally, the program contributes up to $100 for qualifying households to purchase the following devices from specific approved providers:
- Desktop computer
Eligible recipients must contribute at least $10 but no more than $50 towards this purchase out of their own pockets.
Am I Eligible for Cheap Internet Access via the ACP?
You’re eligible for the ACP if your household income is either at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. (Note: The dollar amount listed for this income requirement changes every year.)
Not sure if your household income meets these limits? If you meet certain other criteria, you may also qualify for deeply discounted internet access. Those criteria include, but are not limited to:
- Having received a Pell grant during the current award year
- Receiving benefits from a variety of assistance programs (see list below)
- Participating in certain assistance programs while also living on qualifying Tribal land
Some of the assistance programs that meet this ACP rule requirement include:
- Free and reduced lunch programs
- SNAP benefits (i.e., “food stamps”)
- Federal public housing assistance (i.e., HUD vouchers, section 8 housing, etc.)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- WIC (Women, Infants and Children)
- Veterans’ pension or survivor benefits from the VA
How Does the Affordable Connectivity Program Work?
Note: The ACP’s website lists participating internet service providers by state; simply click your state’s name. Then, you’ll see an alphabetical list of providers and whether they offer internet access only, discounted devices, or some combination.
You can apply for the ACP once you find an authorized provider in your area and confirm that you qualify. Visit the ACP’s website to apply for discounted internet access online. You can also print out a form to complete and submit through the mail if you prefer. Don’t have a computer, tablet, or internet access at home? Visit your local public library and ask to use their services to submit your ACP application. Most libraries let visitors use their public computers — even without a library card.
Bonus Tip: Are you already a Lifeline subscriber? Then the ACP will automatically approve your internet access discount. You don’t need to apply at all! Do you receive discounted internet access now from your provider’s low-income program? Contact your ISP and ask if they can enroll you in the ACP. This will save you an additional $30/month on your bill.
Where Can I Find More Info About This Internet Access Program?
Like many other programs that offer benefits, the ACP’s rules can be confusing. You can find more information about the program and how to qualify on the FCC’s website. You can also call the ACP Support Center at (877) 384-2575 to speak with someone.
Get Experienced Help Qualifying for Disability Benefits
If you or someone you know cannot work for at least one year for health reasons, help is available. Sign up for a free, no-obligation phone call with a local disability advocate today to discuss your options. Right now, two federal programs pay monthly benefits to eligible claimants. However, it’s very hard to get those payments without help from someone local who already understands the system well.
We can connect you with someone nearby who’s available to help you by phone right away. Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
Lisa Allen is a writer and editor who lives in suburban Kansas City. She holds MFAs in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry, both from the Solstice Low-Residency Program in Creative Writing at Pine Manor College. Prior to becoming a writer, Lisa worked as a paralegal, where she specialized in real estate in and around Chicago.