Temporary help of up to $50 a month is available to cover some of the costs of broadband for qualifying low-income households through the Federal Communications Commission Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Congress set aside $3.2 billion in last December’s $900 billion Covid-relief package to cover the program through the FCC.
Eligibility is broad: if your household income is 135 percent below the federal poverty line (for example, if you have a household of four people and your household income is below $35,800), if anyone in your household is on Medicaid, on food stamps, on federal public housing assistance, on a veteran pension or survivor benefits, and so on.
Households within apartment complexes or other types of multi-unit dwellings, where the landlord or the property manager is the internet account holder, may be able to apply the benefit to that broadband service if they otherwise qualify. You will not receive the funds directly. Rather, the participating broadband service provider will receive the funds from the Emergency Broadband Benefit program and discount your bill.
The FCC announced that residents can begin applying for and enrolling in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program on Wednesday, May 12.
“Flagler County isn’t actually involved outside of letting our residents know the program is available,” said Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord. “There are criteria that have to be met, but it’s a great program for those who are eligible.”
Eligible households can receive the following:
- Up to a $50 per month discount on broadband service and associated equipment rentals
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household. At least one person within the household must meet any of the following criteria:
- Participates in the Lifeline Program (Lifeline is a federal program that lowers the monthly cost of phone and internet. Eligible customers will get up to $9.25 toward their bill.)
- Received a Pell Grant in the current award year
- Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced school lunch program or school breakfast program in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2012 school year
- Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 (the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers or $198,000 for joint filers
- Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or Covid-19 program
There are three ways to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit:
Option 1: Contact a participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process.
Option 2: Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you.
Option 3: Send a mail-in application, along with proof of eligibility to:
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742
If you’d like to enroll through a provider: Find a list of participating service providers by state at: www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit. The service provider then assists the consumer (in person) with applying through the National Verifier Service provider portal; or The service provider helps the consumer apply
using their FCC approved alternate verification process.
The program will end when the fund runs out of money, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner. Residents can apply directly through their current broadband provider or at https://getemergencybroadband.org/.
See the presentation below for more details, including what your application will look like.