Over the past year, many people have been made redundant or otherwise unable to pay for basic necessities. So the incentive package passed by Congress in December included a provision to pay for broadband and other basic technology for those who, due to job losses or other financial difficulties, cannot afford to pay for it alone. And starting this week, you can take advantage of it if you qualify.
The Benefit program for emergency broadband is operated by the FCC and offers a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills – up to $ 50 per month (or $ 75 if your household is in eligible tribe countries). If your income qualifies, you can also get a one-time discount of up to $ 100 for a computer or tablet.
It’s not much when you consider how much technology costs these days, but every little bit helps. And requests for that discount will be available from tomorrow, May 12.
There are several ways you may be eligible for the program. Qualifications can include your income level (at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty level), participation in a program such as SNAP or Medicaid, job loss due to the pandemic, or other criteria. You can get more information through the FCC website or through to getemergencybroadband.org
If you think you qualify, you can do that too Register online, contact your current broadband provider to see if they are participating in the program (or check this list for a provider near you), or print and complete an application and send it to:
Emergency Broadband Support Center
London, KY 40742.
A word of caution, if you think you qualify, don’t delay sending the application. This is a temporary program and you will lose your benefit when the fund runs out of money, or “six months after the Department of Health and Human Services ended the COVID-19 health emergency” – depending on whichever comes first.