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Need Help Paying for Internet Service? There is a new program that can help.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program began last year in March to help households pay for internet service. Eligible households received a credit of up to $50 a month on their bill for internet services. Families located on qualifying tribal lands were eligible for a credit of up to $75 a month. That program is being phased out and replaced with the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The new program helps more households qualify the credit, but it to $30 per month. Households living on qualifying tribal lands will still receive up to $75 per month. Households that qualified under the old program will continue to receive up to $50 per month until February 28, 2022, but they do need to reapply for the new program to remain eligible for the credit. 

A household is eligible if: 1) their income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty limit (currently$35,775 for a family of 4); 2) they receive SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, VA disability pension (a VA needs-based program), HUD public housing assistance, or Lifeline benefits; 3) they are eligible for the free or reduced-price school lunch program; 4) they receive a Pell grant during the current award year; 5) they experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, and total household income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or 6) they meet the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Enrollment is easy (two steps) and can be done by mail or online. To apply online: https://www.checklifeline.org/lifeline/?id=nv_flow&ebbp=true. After being approved, the family just needs to contact their internet provider. There are 115 companies in SC that participate in the program and can be found here: https://data.usac.org/publicreports/CompaniesNearMe/State/StateOption/SC. A household is a group of people who live together and share money even if they are not related to each other. Roommates that do not share money are considered as separate households and each roommate may be eligible for a credit. Households living on qualifying Tribal lands can find more information at https://acpbenefit.org/do-i-qualify/enhanced-tribal-benefit/

The program also offers a one-time discount of up to $100 towards the purchase of a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer. The purchase must be made through a participating provider and there are only 21 participating companies in SC. To see if you may qualify for help, go to https://www.fcc.gov/acp.

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