When Covid’19 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 Covid’19 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 Wireless 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.
What is 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. 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.
How to apply 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.
- 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.
How to qualify for the 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.
How long will EBB benefits last?
The EBB program will run for six months after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concludes and declares the COVID-19 pandemic over. If the funding allocated for the program runs out earlier before the pandemic is over, then the aid program will end early. Beneficiaries will receive a notification earlier than the termination day. The government has allocated $3.2 billion for the EBB program.
What other services can you get from Cricket Wireless?
There are numerous services you can get at Cricket Wireless. They include the following.
1) Cricket Plans
There are various Cricket cell phone plans that you can get for communication purposes. They include the following.
i) $33 per line/month-Unlimited + 15 GB Mobile Hotspot
The plan gives you the option to get four lines for $130/month. It has nationwide access to 5G internet. The plan also gives you 150GB of Cloud Storage space. Again, you get unlimited talk, text & picture messages within the U.S. Moreover, you will use the internet bundles for SD quality video streaming (480p).
Moreover, you will benefit from the unlimited texts from the U.S. to 37 countries of the world. You will also get HD Voice & Wi-Fi Calling with compatible devices. Above all, you will get the Cricket Call Defense with a compatible phone.
ii) $30 per line/month-2 GB
If you get 4 lines, you will be able to pay $120/month. You will also get 2 GB of high-speed data to use for various online activities. The plan also has unlimited talk, text & picture messages within the U.S. Additionally, and you can have HD Voice & Wi-Fi Calling with a compatible device. Interestingly, the plan has the Cricket Call Defense when you use a compatible phone. You can check Cricket phone compatibility on the Cricket website.
iii) $25 per line/month-Unlimited
You can get four Lines for $100/month and enjoy high-speed data connectivity. Cricket gives you unlimited high-speed data with limits to a maximum of 8Mbps. If the network is busy, you might experience slow network connections. You will also get unlimited talk, text & picture messages within the U.S. Furthermore, and you will get SD quality video streaming (480p).
Additionally, you get unlimited texts from the U.S. to 37 countries. You also get HD Voice & Wi-Fi Calling if you have a compatible phone. Lately, the plan will give you a Cricket Call Defense with a compatible phone.
iv) $28 per line/month-10 GB
The plan gives you 4 Lines for $110/month. Enjoy high-speed data connectivity when you get 10 GB of high-speed data. The plan gives you unlimited talk, text & picture messages within the U.S. You can also enjoy HD Voice plus Wi-Fi Calling if you have a compatible phone. Lastly, you will be able to get Cricket Call Defense with a compatible phone.
2) International calling
Cricket wireless helps you to call abroad for your friends and relatives. You can add a one-time or monthly Cricket International or Cricket International Extra to your account.
3) Mobile Hotspot and WiFi
With the Cricket hotspot, you can connect various devices to the internet to access various sites online. Also, the hotspot allows you to call others using the Wi-Fi calling feature.
If you are very busy and cannot answer calls, you can benefit from the voice call service since others can leave you voice call messages to listen to later in the day.
Cricket Wireless sells compatible smartphones such as LG Stylo 6, Cricket icon, and Apple iPhone 11. There are also numerous Cricket deals for existing customers, such as the 60 per month Unlimited + 15 GB Mobile Hotspot plan, $40 per month 10 GB plan, and $55 per month Unlimited plan.
Cricket Wireless is one of the communication companies participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program that financially assists people challenged by the Covid’19 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.