If you’re not a member of Lifeline, there are other government programs that you can qualify for, including the Affordable Connectivity Program. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) assists low-income households in paying for broadband service and internet-connected devices. However, the Affordable Connectivity Program gets administered by USAC and is led by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Besides, not everyone qualifies for the ACP; thus, it’s crucial to know how to apply for the affordable connectivity program.
First, if you or any household member participates in the federal Lifeline program free government smartphones, you’ll qualify to participate in the ACP. However, the Lifeline program offers recipients a discount of $9 per month towards your internet service. Plus, over $34 per month for qualifying recipients on Tribal lands. So, any funds coming from the ACP will be an extra discount to what you receive through Lifeline.
On the other hand, if you participated in the previous EBB program, you have a high chance of receiving ACP. You are eligible if you or any household member currently participates in a particular government assistance program. Besides, you can qualify if your income level is at the Federal Government poverty guidelines. You can qualify for the ACP based on your income and participation in any of the eligible government programs.
How To Receive Your ACP Benefit
- Check if You Qualify
Confirm if your household fits into any eligible categories
- Apply for the ACP
Select how you want to apply and submit all required documents
- Find a Company Near You
Use the search tool to locate a company that provides ACP discounts near you.
About the Affordable Connectivity Program
The ACP is a new government initiative that replaces the expired temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. This program helps low-income households qualify for home internet or wireless service. If you want to know about your affordable connectivity program eligibility or application status, you can contact the ACP helpline at (877) 384-2575.
However, the Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC assistive program that ensures that households can access the broadband they require for school, healthcare, work, and more. The benefit avails a discount of up to $30 per month on internet needs for qualified households and $75 monthly for households residing on qualifying Tribal lands.
Additionally, the qualified households can also get a one-time discount that amounts to $100 to buy a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet from participating providers if they give more than $10 and less than $50 on the purchase price. Notably, the Affordable Connectivity Program gets reserved to one monthly service discount and one device discount in every household.
How Do You Apply For ACP?
You can apply for and submit the Affordable Connectivity Program(ACP) through three different methods. The first one is to apply online. You can sign in and create a new account at the ACP’s online application portal.
Secondly, you have an option to apply by mail. In this case, you will have to print out an application at Acpbenefitcontent, fill it and send it together with your copies of the necessary documents to ACP Support Center, P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742.
Finally, the other option is to call your ISP directly and request to participate in the ACP. If it’s a yes, the provider will assist you and guide you through the steps required to complete the process.
Moreover, if you opt to apply online, it’s likely to receive immediate approval. If otherwise, there may be a need for additional documentation for you to proceed forward with the ACP discount. Once you’re approved, you can proceed to the final step.
Who Qualifies for the Affordable Connectivity Program?
A household member qualifies for the affordable connectivity program tablet if the income level is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Standards or if a member of the household attains at least one of the criteria below:
i) Participates in specific assistance programs, such as;
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aka Food Stamps
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for WIC (Women, Infants, and Children)
- Breakfast Program, a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools in the 2019-20, 2020-21, or 2021-22 school year
- Recipient of a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
However, you may have to show a letter, card, or official document to support participating in one of these programs when applying for the ACP.
ii) Tribal Assistance Programs
If you reside on qualifying Tribal lands, you can receive ACP if your household income level lies at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or if you (or a member in your household) participate in:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Head Start (only households with the income qualifying standard)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribal TANF
- Any of the federal assistance programs highlighted above
However, you must provide proof of participation, including a benefits letter or official document, when applying for ACP.
iii) If You Already Receive a Lifeline Benefit
Lifeline is a program managed by the Federal Communications Commission that gives a free tablet with food stamps. This program helps make communications services more accessible for low-income consumers. If you currently get a Lifeline benefit, you are automatically eligible for the ACP, and you can get both benefits at once. However, you can apply for your ACP and Lifeline benefits through the same or separate services. Contact your internet company to understand how to start getting ACP discounts.
iv) Attains the eligibility criteria through a participating provider’s existing low-income internet program.
How to Provide Additional Information or Documentation
When applying for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) benefit, you may have to provide extra information or documentation if there is no confirmation of your identity, eligibility, or address.
i) Qualifying Assistance Program Participation Documentation
If you apply for ACP through qualifying programs, submit a letter or official document as proof.
Documentation must include:
- Your (or your dependent’s) full name
- The qualifying program name, such as SNAP
- The government name, program administrator, Tribal entity, university, school, school district, or college that offered the document
- Issue date for the last 12 months bracket or a subsequent expiration date
- For the School Breakfast Program or Free and Reduced Price School Lunch Program, through US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools, forms can be from 2019-20, 2020-21, or 2021-22 academic year.
- For USDA Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools, the certificate must indicate that the student is a member in a CEP School for the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school years. However, acceptable documentation includes a report card bearing the student’s name and the institution’s name or a letter showing that the student enrolls in the CEP school.
- For Federal Pell Grants, documents should include the current academic year and can feature screenshots of a StudentAid.gov dashboard.
- Benefit award letter
- Approval letter
- Statement of benefits
- Benefit verification letter
ii) Household Income Documentation
If you qualify for ACP through your income, you will require to submit a document that confirms that your annual income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Documentation must include:
- Your (or your dependent’s) full name
- Your annual income
- A Social Security statement of benefits
- Previous year’s state, Tribal 0r federal tax return
- Recent income statement from your employer or a paycheck stub
- Veterans Administration statement of benefits
- Unemployment or Worker’s Compensation statement of benefits
- Child support award, divorce decree, or a relevant official document indicating your income
- A retirement/pension statement of benefits
iii) Identity Verification Documentation
Documentation must include:
- Your full name
- Your year of birth
- Certificate of US Citizenship or Naturalization
- Permanent Resident Card or Green Card
- A valid government, state, military, or Tribal ID
- Government participation program document
- Birth Certificate
- US Driver’s license
- Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) document
Which Internet Service Providers Are Participating in ACP?
Numerous broadband providers, including those offering free government tablets, participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program. However, based on where you live, you may get a choice of providers and check with the broadband providers in your area to know about their plans for program participation and eligible service provisions. You can get a list of qualified participating providers by state and territory at FCC.
On the other hand, you may transfer your ACP benefit to another wireless company. To transfer your benefit, contact a company that provides ACP and ask them to transfer your ACP benefit. However, you may have to reapply before your company transfers you. If you acquired a discounted internet-connected device through the program, you could not have a new discounted device, even if you switch internet companies.
Affordable connectivity program got explicitly launched to assist low-income households in affording and accessing broadband connections for school, health care, work, utilities, and other services. To qualify for ACP benefits, at least one household member must meet the criteria discussed in this guideline for the household to participate.