FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit: Details, How To Apply
Millions of Americans can now qualify for a $ 50-per-month subsidy to pay for broadband internet, thanks to the stimulus bill passed in December.
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has announced that households can apply for emergency broadband (EBB) benefit starting May 12. The program, which teams up with broadband service providers, offers a $ 50 discount on broadband bills ($ 75 for those living on tribal lands) and a $ 100 discount on devices.
But who is eligible for the EBB and how do people apply for the program?
Who is eligible for EBB?
According to the FCC, a household is eligible if the household meets one of these criteria:
- Has an income equal to or less than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or Lifeline.
- Is approved to receive benefits under the Free and Discounted School Meals Program or School Breakfast Program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision during the year school 2019-2020 or 2020-2021.
- Received a Federal Pell Grant in current award year.
- Has experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or leave since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 of $ 99,000 or less for single filers and 198,000 $ for joint filers; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
During a recent FCC webinar for consumers and outreach partners, it was confirmed that any past debts an applicant may have to a broadband company participating in EBB will be canceled in order for them to participate. to the program, if they are eligible.
People from all 50 states and all territories, including Puerto Rico, can apply.
If a school participates in a free and discounted school lunch or lunch program that operates outside of the federal program, that household is not eligible under the noon meal program, but may be eligible by d ‘other means.
Individuals who live in multi-unit dwellings such as nursing homes are each individually eligible for this benefit. A “household” is determined by the income of an individual.
Homeless people are eligible for EBB. If a homeless person does not have a fixed address, they can use a descriptive address or a list where they receive their mail.
The EBB ends when the available $ 3.2 billion is exhausted, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares the emergency period ended. FCC officials say they anticipate funds will be used up before the emergency period is declared over, so they are encouraging people to apply as soon as the application process opens.
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How to apply for emergency broadband service
FCC officials encourage anyone who may be eligible for the Lifeline program to apply for this program first. Anyone who qualifies for Lifeline automatically qualifies for EBB. In addition to that, Lifeline and EBB can be combined.
If a household has a particular supplier in mind, once the EBB program is officially enacted, the FCC recommends checking with them first.
If there is no particular vendor in mind, the FCC encourages people to go to the getemergencybroadband.org/ portal to get more program details and to apply.
Once the program is launched, this portal will also include access to a digital map, which will highlight locally available EBB providers.
If a household does not have access to apply online, paper applications are available in English and Spanish. The online application portal can be translated using online translation tools, and the EBB Consumer Support Center can translate 198 languages.
While there is support for the application process provided over the phone, officials say phone lines should be used for special circumstances for those with different abilities and other unique circumstances.
How to help spread the word about emergency broadband delivery
The FCC is working on a number of promotional materials that people and partners can distribute throughout their communities to increase awareness of the program. These include infographics, social media, and printable images, as well as audio and video material.
While these tools will still be available soon, the FCC has confirmed that they will be available in a number of languages. The materials can be found this month.
“We need trusted voices and partners who know their communities to raise awareness of this important program,” says Lyle Ishida, Head of the FCC’s Consumer and Outreach Division.
To find these tools once they go live or to become a partner, visit: fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-outreach-toolkit.
More information on the emergency broadband service
- If a supplier charges a down payment or installation fee, the EBB does not cover this cost.
- Several broadband providers in the Sarasota area have confirmed their participation in EBB, including Comcast, CenturyLink and Frontier.
- The EBB can only be requested once per household.
- If a digital browser helps a potential program participant apply, the participant themselves must sign the application.
- Regarding the one-time $ 100 appliance rebate, a co-payment of more than $ 10 but less than $ 50 will be expected, depending on household income.
- For more resources on EBB, visit the homepage here: fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.