How to Find Discounted High-Speed Internet Services
There are two new resources available that can help you save money on your home internet services. The options available to you will depend on your income level and where you live. Here is where to begin.
Depending on your financial situation, you may qualify for the new Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. This is a temporary federal benefit that provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on tribal lands.
Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10 to $50 toward the purchase price.
To qualify, your annual household income must be at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, which is $17,388 for a single individual or $23,517 for a household of two. You may also qualify if you live on federally recognized tribal lands or are receiving certain types of government benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), SSI, public housing assistance, veterans' pension or survivors pension benefits.
Households that experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 due to job loss or furlough may also qualify for the EBB program, as long as their household income for 2020 was at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
To apply, go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org, where you can apply online or print out an application and mail it in.
If you are already receiving assistance through the federal Lifeline benefit, which is a monthly subsidy for phone or internet costs, you automatically qualify for the EBB program and can receive both benefits at the same time. You can apply your EBB and your Lifeline benefit to the same or separate services.
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.
If you are not eligible for the EBB program, another resource for locating discounted high-speed internet is Aging Connected, which has a higher income qualification for its program. Aging Connected is a nationwide campaign created to help lower-income adults find low-cost, in-home broadband options in their area.
Partnering with telecommunications companies, nonprofits and public entities, Aging Connected helps you search for services in your area that provide high-speed internet at a very low cost. Most participating companies charge around $10 to $15 per month, with no contract or equipment fee. Aging Connected also provides referrals to affordable desktop and laptop computers for under $160.
To qualify, your annual household income must be at or below 185% of the federal poverty guidelines, which is $23,800 for an individual or $32,200 for a household of two. As with the EBB program, you may also qualify if you are receiving certain types of government benefits.
You can reach Aging Connected online or call 877-745-1930.
If you find that you are not eligible for the listed resources, you may still be able to save on your internet by shopping and comparing. The best way to do this is to search for websites that provide a list of low-cost internet providers in your area, along with pricing and download speeds.
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.