Government programs are launched and created to help underprivileged households receive the things they need to maintain a comfortable life. For instance, the government provides housing assistance and free furniture for those in need.
When it comes to mobile and broadband services, which are necessary today, the federal government also organizes programs that benefit those who cannot afford them. One of these programs is the Affordable Connectivity Program.
To learn about what the ACP program is, let’s discuss its benefits, how it works, its eligibility, and how you can fully take advantage of the program.
What Benefits Can You Get From ACP?
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is an effective solution launched by the federal government through the FCC with the main goal of bridging the digital divide in the country. Through the ACP, a low-income household member can gain access to a service discount for broadband services and a device discount for a smartphone.
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) administers the ACP program, and they award two possible solutions:
1. Discounted Internet Services
Eligible consumers will enjoy a $30 discount per month that they can use to pay for internet and device plans or bundles. This discount may be applied to one out of 1,300 participating internet service providers. If the consumer resides in Tribal lands, their discount can go as high as $75.
2. Free Internet Services
There are 20 internet services that go beyond discounts and offer their services for free as their plans are worth $30 or less.
3. Discounted Internet-Accessible Devices
The ACP allows a one-time discount of up to $100 for a mobile phone, desktop computer, tablet, and laptop granted the device will be bought through a participating provider. However, the $100 discount is only accessible if the household beneficiary pays their share of $10 to $50 toward the price of the device.
Who Is Eligible For The Affordable Connectivity Program?
The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one service discount and one device discount per eligible household. With that in mind, you should review the eligibility criteria to check if you can start the application process.
Before you apply for an ACP service plan, check if you meet the following requirements:
1. Income-Based Eligibility
You can gain access to an ACP-supported service if your gross household income is set at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines in the state where you reside. This amount changes depending on your geographic location and household size.
2. Program-Based Eligibility
Aside from looking at how much you earn, you may also be qualified if you are a recipient of at least one of these government assistance programs:
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
- Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Federal Pell Grant
- The National School Lunch Program or The School Breakfast Program
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
3. Enhanced Support Eligibility
If you reside on Tribal lands, the benefits you get from Lifeline increase from $30 to $75 per month. However, you must provide proof that you receive one of the following program benefits:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribal Head Start
What Documents Do You Need As Proof?
After verifying the eligibility information for ACP, you can ensure participation by proving that you are qualified. You can achieve this by submitting documents as proof:
To prove your name and age, you may submit the following:
- Valid government, military, state, or Tribal ID
- Birth Certificate
- U.S. Driver’s license
- Certificate of U.S. Citizenship or Naturalization
- Permanent Resident Card or Green Card
- Government assistance program document
- Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) document
To prove your income, you may submit the following:
- Previous year’s federal, state, or Tribal tax return
- Latest income statement from employer or a paycheck stub
- A Social Security statement of benefits
- Veterans Administration statement of benefits
- Unemployment or Worker’s Compensation statement of benefits
- Divorce decree, child support award, or a similar official document with your income
- A retirement/pension statement of benefits
To prove your address, you must use the online mapping tool to locate your home, submit a map, or you can also send the following:
- Driver’s license or other valid government, state, or Tribal ID
- Utility bill
- Mortgage or lease statement
- Most recent W-2 or tax return
To prove you’re participation in a government assistance program, you may submit the following:
- Benefit award letter
- Approval letter
- Statement of benefits
- Benefit verification letter
- School documentation
If you are minor and need to prove emancipation, you must provide the following:
- Emancipation court documents
- Certificate of emancipation
How Can Interested Applicants Apply For ACP Program?
If you want to begin your participation, you must submit your application. Here are the three ways you can do so:
1. Apply Online
Open the National Verifier application system, and create a new account. Just fill in the process of application, ensure you upload the right documents and get the results quickly.
2. Apply By Mail
Print out the ACP online application form and fill it out thoroughly. Follow all the instructions and include the Household Worksheet to check if another member of the household can be eligible if you are not. Once the application is complete, send the application to:
ACP Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742
3. Contact Your Internet Service Provider
Find the closest participating provider near you through USAC’s ACP Provider Locator. If they deem your application incomplete, you will be required to submit additional information for another round of processing.
Try Applying Today
The Affordable Connectivity Program makes technology accessible to people in need. If you or someone you know meets the qualifications, don’t hesitate and start an application today.
If you want to learn more about free internet government programs for low-income families, check out this guide by Gov Relations today!