Health and Public Benefits

Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a new program to help struggling families afford internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more to learn who qualifies and how to get discounted internet service.

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Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit gives eligible households up to a $50/month discount for internet service. If your household is enrolled, you will automatically receive the discount on your monthly internet bill--this is not a benefit that is paid directly to you.

Who is eligible? 

You are eligible for this benefit if anyone in your household receives one of the following benefits: 

  • SNAP/Food stamps
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • A Pell Grant (Must be received in this award year)
  • Free or reduced school lunch or breakfast
  • Meets the eligibility standards for a participating internet provider's other low-income or COVID-19 discount program.

You are also eligible if your household's annual income is:

  • Less than 135% of the federal poverty level. Check this chart to view the income limit for your household size. 
  • Less than $99,000 a year for single filers, or $198,000 a year for joint filers, and someone in your household has had a major loss of income since the pandemic started.

How to apply

Applications open on May 12, 2021. There are three ways to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit. 

If you apply online, they will try to verify your eligibility automatically, but you may be asked to provide additional documentation to prove your identity, address or eligibility. If you apply by mail, you will need to send in copies of your documents along with your application. 

How long will it last?

We don't know how long the program will last yet. It will either end when it runs out of funding or six months after the pandemic is declared officially over, whichever happens first. 

Your internet provider will send you notice that the program is ending when the time comes. You will need to actively opt-in, or tell your provider that you want to continue your internet service at full price when the program is over. If you do not, they will assume that you do not want to continue getting internet and they will cancel your service.

Device discount

The program also allows you to get a one-time $100 discount on a computer or tablet purchased through your internet service provider. Contact your internet service provider to see what options are available to you under the device discount program. 

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