FCC announces emergency broadband benefit: Applications open May 12

The FCC announced that on May 12, eligible households will be able to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit.

Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel stated:

“Families in every corner of the country have been struggling to get online throughout this pandemic. For those families, we now say help is around the corner. We will have a new way for disconnected Americans to access the internet to carry out their day-to-day life, so they can reach the virtual classroom, take advantage of telehealth, and seek new employment opportunities.”

Beginning on May 12 households can apply in three ways:

• Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process.

• Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you.

• Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application, and return it along with proof of eligibility to: Emergency Broadband Support Center, P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742.

Materials that partners can use to help promote the Emergency Broadband Benefit to the communities they serve will be available on www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-outreach-toolkit.

The FCC hosted a webinar that provided an overview of the benefit. If you missed the event live, a recording can be viewed online.

• Your household qualifies for the Emergency Broadband Benefit if it has an income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or any member of the household:

• Qualifies for Lifeline benefits through participation in SNAP, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit;

• Participates in one of several Tribal specific programs: Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Head Start (only households meeting the relevant income qualifying standard), Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;

Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 with a total household income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers;

• Received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year;

• Received approval for benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year; or

• Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program, and that provider received FCC approval for its eligibility verification process.

Only one monthly service discount and one device discount are allowed per household. Program rules acknowledge there may be more than one eligible household residing at the same address.

Any member of your household can make your household eligible. For example, if your child or dependent participates in the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program, your household qualifies for the Emergency Broadband Benefit.

Lifeline is a program to help make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. If you currently receive Lifeline benefits, you automatically qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit, and you can receive both benefits at the same time. You can apply your Emergency Broadband Benefit and your Lifeline benefit to the same or separate services. Talk to your broadband provider to learn how to start receiving EBB Program discounts.

If your broadband provider already has its own low-income or COVID-19 relief program, you may be able to qualify through this program as well. Talk to your broadband provider for more information.

The benefit 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.


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