Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Announced
Submitted by Gary Girard
LCO Health Center Director
Public Health Officer
The FCC recently announced an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program through which qualifying households can receive up to a $50 per month discount on internet service ($75/month on qualifying Tribal lands), and a one-time discount of up to $100 per month on a laptop or tablet. Eligibility for SSI by any member of the household is one of many factors of eligibility for this program.
Here is a link to info on the FCC site: Emergency Broadband Benefit | Federal Communications Commission (fcc.gov) on their site, they don’t mention SSI eligibility. However, they do link to https://getemergencybroadband.org,
a third party site that appears to be operating under the guidance of the FCC. That website lists SSI eligibility as one of the qualifying factors. In a section titled “Show You Qualify”, this website says when you apply for this benefit they will attempt to confirm your information automatically. If they cannot automatically approve the application, they will ask the applicant to provide proof of participation in the SSI program that makes them eligible
What is the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households. If your household is eligible, you can receive:
· Up to a $50/month discount on your broadband service and associated equipment rentals
· Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands
· A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household.
The FCC has announced that consumers can begin applying for and enrolling in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program on May 12, 2021. The program will end when the fund runs out of money, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner.