If you are a low-income household, you may be eligible for a government-sponsored program that can help you save up to $30 a month on your Internet bill. Eligible families receive a discount on broadband internet service, up to $30 a month for non-tribal lands and $75 for Tribal lands. To qualify, you must be enrolled in a federal assistance program, like SNAP/EBT, Medicaid, or Lifeline.

What is ACP?

Government funding is available through the Affordable Connectivity Program to assist qualified households with the cost of Internet access. It offers a discount of up to $30 per month (or $75 on Tribal Lands) on broadband service and equipment. The FCC operates the program and leverages the same infrastructure as two other FCC programs – the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program and Lifeline. You can seek assistance with this process from reputable providers like Assist Wireless.

The annual household income must not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Families can apply online through the ACP site or by contacting their ISP directly. The online application is easy and quick; many applicants receive approval immediately. The other option is to call or visit your ISP, which may offer its low-income program that doesn’t require an additional application or paperwork.

A wage stub, tax return, or Social Security statement of benefits are acceptable forms of identification. Also good are letters of permission or gift receipts attesting to your participation in a program. Check out the ACP site’s Show You Qualify page for a complete list of requirements. ACP is currently facing a funding crisis, with many families in danger of losing their free or low-cost Internet. Congress and the Biden Administration must work together to secure new funding and ensure this critical lifeline remains in place for years.

How does ACP work?

The ACP program offers up to a $30 monthly service discount (or $75 for homes on Tribal Lands) and a $100 one-time device discount. It is the nation’s largest broadband affordability program.

Households must meet income and other requirements set by the FCC. Families may apply for the program online, with the assistance of an internet company, or through a Lifeline Assistance service provider. A household must have at least one member who participates in a program. Total monthly income must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

A household using a paper application must provide the documents listed on the ACP site’s Show You Qualify page. Those documents can be submitted online, by fax, or by mail. It’s recommended that applicants prepare the paperwork beforehand to avoid processing delays due to missing information or documentation.

Once a household is approved for ACP, it can use the ACP Provider Locator Online Tool to select a participating internet service provider and sign up for a service plan. The ACP benefits last for as long as the program is funded, which is expected to be several years.

Who is eligible for ACP?

Your household’s gross annual income must be equal to or less than 200% of the federal poverty level. The income calculation includes all sources of income, such as wages, salaries, tips, investments, alimony, child support, and Social Security payments. However, the program excludes public assistance benefits such as SNAP and Medicaid. If your household receives Lifeline benefits, you can combine them with the ACP benefit to get even more internet service and equipment savings. You can complete the application online or through a participating internet provider to apply for ACP. If you’re already a Lifeline customer, your internet provider may be able to sign you up for ACP automatically. You can choose a package from one of the many partner internet providers and get a monthly discount on internet access if your application is accepted. The provider may also discount a device on a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.

The National Verifier uses an algorithm to determine if your information is correct and ensure you are eligible for ACP. Suppose the data needs to be corrected, or the algorithm cannot confirm your eligibility. In that case, the verification process will take longer, and your internet provider may require additional documents to sign you up for ACP. You should submit all the necessary documentation when applying for ACP to avoid delays.

How do I enroll in ACP?

The federal ACP program makes internet service more affordable for low-income households by providing a monthly credit of $30 (or $75/mo on Tribal Lands) towards the household’s broadband internet access bill.  To determine if you are eligible for ACP, use our National Verifier tool and answer a few questions. The results will give you an idea of whether or not you qualify within minutes. For more detailed income eligibility requirements, visit our Income Eligibility page. Once you know you’re eligible, the next step is to gather your documentation. It includes a social security number, tribal ID, or government-issued photo ID (like a driver’s license). Then, you’ll need to provide proof of your income. It can be done by submitting copies of a recent tax return, paycheck, or benefits statement. Finally, you must verify that you participate in a Lifeline-qualifying program or service. It can be done by presenting a card, letter, or official document showing participation.

By Sambit

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