Americans can begin applying for $50 off their internet bill on Wednesday as part of an emergency government program to keep people connected during the pandemic.
The $3.2 billion program was part of the $900 billion December pandemic-relief package. It’s unclear how long the money will last, although it’s expected to be several months.
Tens of millions of people are eligible.
According to the Emergency Broadband Benefit website, households must meet at least one of the criteria below to apply:
- "Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
- Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income or COVID-19 program."
To apply, click here.
The government is increasing spending on broadband as the pandemic made stark that millions of Americans did not have access to and could not afford broadband at a time when jobs, school and health care was moving online.