Plenty of people have suffered financially over the past couple of years, and with reports of inflation, rising gas prices, and a potential recession on the horizon, things might not be getting better anytime soon. So every little bit counts, right? With that in mind, there's a new federal assistance program designed to help U.S. households with internet bills: the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Related: Money-Saving Tools That'll Keep Your Budget on Track
The Affordable Connectivity Program was announced at the end of 2021 and went into effect March 1. It replaces the Federal Communication Commission's Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which began in February 2021. There are two basic differences between the programs:
Benefits: The maximum monthly benefit under the ACP is $30; it was $50 under the old program. Note that this applies to households not located on tribal lands. Tribal land recipients can get up to $75 monthly.
Eligibility: Eligible households must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for the ACP — it was 135% for the old program. Other potential criteria are explained below.
Other ACP Benefits
In addition to the $30 assistance for non-tribal (and $75 for tribal) households, eligible households can also get a one-time discount of up to $100 on a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
Note also that the ACP can be applied to only one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.
Related: Important Things to Know When Applying for Food Assistance Programs
Who is Eligible?
In addition to the income requirements noted above, a household is eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program if a member meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Participates in assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
- Participates in tribal-specific programs such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
- Participates in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision;
- Got a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income internet program.
How to Enroll
There are two steps to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program:
Go to acpbenefit.org. Submit an application online or print one out and mail it in.
Qualified applicants must also get in touch with their preferred participating internet provider to select a plan and have the discount applied to their bill. A separate application process might apply to some providers. Find a list of participating providers here.
Have More Questions?
For information about how program participants get funds and more, visit the Affordable Connectivity Program's FAQs page.
Gallery: The Best Ways to Reduce 13 Monthly Bills and Expenses