If you’re struggling to afford the internet, here’s how to get help – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth


If you’re struggling to pay for Internet service, the federal government still has billions of dollars to help you pay your home Internet bills.

The FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program launched in May with nearly $ 3.2 billion. So far, it has spent around $ 35 million according to its online claims tracker.

Read on to learn more about the program requirements and how to apply.

What is covered?

The Emergency Broadband Benefit program offers some households a temporary discount of up to $ 50 per month on Internet bills. Residents of tribal areas are entitled to up to $ 75 off their bill. The discount can apply to a household’s entire bill, or you can use it to upgrade to another plan and your bill would be partially covered.

There is also a one-time rebate of $ 100 for desktops, laptops, or tablets.

Who qualifies?

Any household with an income equal to or less than 135% of the federal poverty guidelines is eligible.

For a family of two, you would qualify if you earn $ 23,517 per year or less. For a family of four, the threshold is $ 35,775.

If you earn more than that, there is another way you can qualify.

If at least one person in your household has received a Federal Pell Grant this year, a free or discounted school lunch in the past two school years, used certain assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline, you may be eligible. .

Or, if you’ve experienced a drop in income due to job loss or leave since February 29, 2020 and your income is $ 99,000 or less for single filers, or $ 198,000 for joint filers, you may also be eligible for the program.

Visit this site to see all the eligibility requirements to find out if you are eligible.

How to register

You can apply online here.

Or, if you already have Internet service, you can contact your current broadband service provider to see if they participate in the program.

For those who cannot log in, 833-511-0311 and the FCC will mail you a request.

This week, the website said the program is experiencing high volume. Paloma Perez of the FCC said weekends are often a better time to call.

“Due to the first few weeks we have seen so much interest, we have recruited staff, we have increased our capacity and our staff to make sure that hopefully the wait times are much shorter than what You have lived. But, also just also a tip that we found is that the weekend seemed to be a little less bulky, ”said Perez.

When does the program end?

Once enrolled, customers keep the discount for up to six months after the federal government declares the COVID-19 emergency over. Or, until program funding runs out – whichever comes first.

“The sooner you apply, the sooner you can get a benefit and the longer you will have the support since this is a temporary program,” said Perez.

Consumers can get the rebate even if they owe a telephone or cable company money.

The $ 3.2 billion program is part of December’s $ 900 billion pandemic relief program. The federal government has increased spending on broadband to bridge the digital divide at a time when work, schools and healthcare continued to move online during the pandemic.

The FCC is also accepting requests for a $ 7.2 billion program for schools and libraries to connect students at home.

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Julio V. Miller

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