When the last pandemic struck the world last year in 2020, thousands of people lost their jobs in the country and other parts of the world. The government came up with various relief tactics for people who were adversely affected by the disease.  One of them is the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) through various cellular service providers, Cricket Emergency Broadband Benefit being among them. That is why this article seeks to explain the process of applying for the Cricket Emergency Broadband Benefit.

    The Cricket Emergency Broadband Benefit includes voice call minutes to call your friends and relatives, internet bundles to access your favorite online sites, and text messages to chat with others when the need arises. It is essential to know that the service is temporary. As soon as things come to the norm, the government will scrap the benefit so that beneficiaries can resume regular communication rates.

    Most EBB beneficiaries are in the Lifeline program, a federal government strategy to cushion people in low-income households to access cheap communication services. The EBB qualification requirements are similar to those of the Lifeline program, as you will see shortly. The only significant difference between the Lifeline program and the Emergency Broadband Benefit is that Lifeline is permanent while EBB is temporary.

    About Cricket Emergency Broadband Benefit

    The Cricket Emergency Broadband Benefit is a program from the Federal Communication Commission that is helping people from needy households access communication services such as voice calling, data bundles, and SMS. As I mentioned earlier, Cricket Wireless’s EBB is among several other similar programs by other service providers such as Boost, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

    Interestingly, the Cricket Emergency Broadband Benefit program has three main plans, which include:

    • Cricket More: The plan includes unlimited calls and data plus 15 GB of Hotspot data for $10/month. After temporary EBB, the regular charges will resume for $60/month and $5/month for single-line customers with AutoPay.
    • Cricket Score: The plan includes unlimited calls and data for only $5/month. After temporary EBB, the regular charges will resume for $55/month. The service is free for single-line customers with Auto Pay.
    • Cricket Simply Data: the plan gives you 100GB of high-speed data for only $5/month. After the temporary EBB, beneficiaries will resume to the regular $55/month.

    You can see from the above details that the program is not for free although highly subsidized by the government. If you get the plan with a hotspot, you can connect up to 15 family members to the internet. The data speeds may vary depending on various factors such as traffic and environmental factors.

    Suppose you are an eligible citizen and not in the Lifeline program. In that case, you can get an EBB free tablet when you apply for EBB with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) at getting Emergency Broadband Benefit. Cricket Wireless does not offer discounted devices for the program.

    Generally, the benefits of the program when you apply to the EBB website include;

    • Up to $50/month for broadband internet service.
    • Up to $75/month for broadband internet on qualifying tribal lands.
    • A one-time discount of up to $100 toward a desktop, laptop, or tablet purchase.

    Application Process For Cricket Emergency Broadband Benefit

    You can apply for the Cricket EBB online at the Cricket EBB application page or visit a store near you. Before applying, you need to get approval from the federal government’s National Verifier.

    The federal government’s National Verifier, the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier, is a centralized body that determines Lifeline and EBB program eligibility. It is managed by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Once you know that you are eligible for the service, you can then apply.

    You will enter your Cricket phone number in the space provided to get started. You will then receive an SMS with a link to the Benefit form for you to fill inaccurately. Generally, any of the following identification details will work.

    • Social Security Number.
    • Passport.
    • Tribal Identification Number.
    • Other Government-issued IDs, such as a state ID, U.S. Military ID.
    • U.S. Driver’s License.
    • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

    You will also need to provide your email address as well as your physical address. The service provider may require other details, which you should be ready to provide.

    Qualification For Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

    For you to start enjoying the EBB services, you have to qualify for the program. It would be best if you met the following criteria.

    • Be a participant in any of the aid programs, including SNAP, SSI, Medicaid, FPHA, the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, or specific tribal programs.
    • Income at or below 135% as per the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
    • Be a participant in the School Breakfast Program (SBP), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), or the USDA Community Eligibility Provision during the 2019–2020 school year.
    • Receive a Federal Pell Grant within the current award year.
    • Have suffered a substantial loss of money (income) since February 29, 2020, resulting in a total 2020 income to fall below $99,000 for single filers and below $198,000 for joint filers.
    • Be eligible for a participating internet service provider’s own COVID-19 aid program or existing low-income aid.

    Bottom Line

    Cricket Wireless is one of the communication companies participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program that financially assists people challenged by the pandemic. The eligibility requirements for the aid program are similar to those of the Lifeline program.

    However, the EBB is temporary and will end any time soon. Cricket Emergency Broadband Benefit has three main plans that you can choose from.