Apply now: Program offering $50 off your monthly internet bill now open

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A man types on a computer keyboard in this photo illustration. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

How does saving $50 on your monthly internet bill sound?

It’s now possible through a new subsidy offered by the Federal Communications Commission. You can apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit starting May 12, 2021. Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household.

It’s not open to everyone, but there are several ways to qualify for the benefit. We’re working for you to show you how to qualify and apply.

BASED ON INCOME

  • You qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit if your household has an income below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.
  • If anyone in your household qualifies for Lifeline benefits through SNAP, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
  • You also qualify if someone in your home was approved for benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program.
  • If you meet qualify for a provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program, and that provider received FCC approval for its eligibility verification process, you also qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit.

You will have to show proof of income, like pay stubs or a tax return, when you apply for the EBB Program. You may also be required to show documentation that you qualify for a program when you apply.

LOSS OF INCOME DURING PANDEMIC

You may also qualify if your household experienced a substantial loss of income after February 28, 2020. Thresholds are total household income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.

You will have to show proof of your total income, like a tax return or official documentation containing income information, as well as proof of the loss of income, like a termination letter or furlough notice, when you apply. 

STUDENTS

Anyone who received a federal Pell Grant may qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit.

You may need to show a official document as proof that you received the grant to qualify.

HOW TO APPLY

If you are already enrolled in the Lifeline program, talk to your Lifeline provider about how to get the Emergency Broadband Benefit.

There are three ways to apply for the benefit beginning May 12, 2021.

  • Online
    • The Universal Service Administrative Company, or USAC will add a link to it’s site when the benefit opens
  • Mail
    • Print and complete an application
    • Mail the application with proof of eligibility to:
      • Emergency Broadband Support Center
      • P.O. Box 7081
      • London, KY 40742
  • Contact your broadband provider
    • Ask your provider if they participate in the EBB Program, or use an online tool to find a participating company near you.

AFTER YOU APPLY

After your application is approved, you can choose a company that offers program discounts and sign up for service.

This is a temporary program and 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.

Participating households will need to opt-in to continue receiving broadband services from their provider after the program ends. If a household chooses to continue receiving service after the end of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, they will be billed the broadband provider’s general monthly rate.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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