A new initiative from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) makes many active duty servicemembers and veterans eligible for free or discounted internet.
The federal program, referred to as the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, was put in place by Congress to help give people lower-cost internet during the pandemic.
Some individuals may also be able to receive up to a $100 discount on a computer under the program.
If you are interested in utilizing the program, there are several criteria you must meet to be eligible.
Military.com provides more details:
To be eligible for the program, a household or household member must: - Have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or participate in SNAP, Medicaid or Lifeline; - Participate in the free and reduced-price school lunch or breakfast program; - Have received a federal Pell Grant during the current year; - Have experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020, with a total 2020 income at or below $99,000 for single filers or $198,000 for joint filers; or - Meet the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
To get an idea of what income levels qualify, here’s some numbers. In the majority of U.S. states (excluding Hawaii and Alaska), an income equal to 135% of the poverty level for a family of four would be $35,775. If you are only a family of two, that income threshold goes down to $23,517.
You can view this website to calculate other income levels and see if you may be eligible.
Make sure when looking at your individual or family income that you take into consideration not just your salary, but also unemployment income, your veterans’ benefits, survivor benefits, social security, and retirement income.
There are certain exceptions where you can still qualify for the free or discounted internet even if your income is more than the poverty level.
Each household can only be eligible for one internet discount and one computer discount.
To get more information, you should visit the programs official site here.
The program officially begins on May 12.