The internet has become a crucial part of our day-to-day life, but sadly, a significant majority of the population still doesn’t have access to it. The United States Government understands this need and therefore has initiated several assistance programs such as Affordable Connectivity Program and Lifeline.
This article mainly focuses on Affordable Connectivity Program, the eligibility criteria, the enrollment and application process, additional perks, and more.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started –
What is Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
Affordable Connectivity Program, aka ACP, is a program funded by the United States government to help low-income households receive access to high-speed internet and internet connecting devices for little to no cost.
Federal Communication Commission, aka FCC, runs and manages this program. The program appeared as a replacement for the old Emergency Broadcast Benefit Program, aka EBB.
This program ensures that low-income households can have stable access to high-speed broadband services and an internet-connected device like a tablet or laptop so that the household can have access to school, healthcare, work, and more.
ACP provides a discount of $30 per month to low-income households who live on non-tribal land or get approved via non-tribal documents. On the other hand, if you get approved on the basis of tribal land documents, you can get benefits of up to $75 per month.
Besides that, all eligible households can get a one-time discount of up to $100 when they opt for a laptop, tablet, or computer from any of the Government’s Affordable Connectivity Program participating providers. However, for this, the eligible household is obliged to co-pay a minimum of $10 to up to $50 while buying eligible items.
Benefits of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
We have already covered the benefits you receive with Affordable Connectivity Program in the above section. However, let me summarize everything for you –
- $30 monthly discount to pay for broadband internet connection. People qualifying on Tribal lands can receive up to $75 per month.
- One-time discount of $100 when purchasing an internet-connected device such as a tablet, computer, or laptop. You have to co-pay a minimum of $10 to up to $50, depending on the purchase.
- You can also get a free laptop from Amazon if your household is financially unstable.
Note that you cannot use this $10 discount on purchasing a smartphone.
Eligibility Criteria for Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
The Affordable Connectivity Program is intended to help low-income households.
Therefore, you could be eligible for the program if you fall into any of the below-mentioned categories –
Income Based Eligibility
To qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program, your household’s income should be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Your household’s income depends on the total number of members in your family and the state you live in. Therefore, I recommend visiting your state’s official website to learn more about it.
Program Based Eligibility
Even if your household’s income doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria, you can still get benefits of the Affordable Connectivity Program if you or any of your household member meets one of the below-shared criteria –
- If anyone in your family has received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
- If you meet the eligibility criteria of any of the ACP provider’s existing low-income internet program
Participates in one of these assistance programs –
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program (Including at US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision schools.)
Federal Housing Assistance, including –
- Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (Section 8 Vouchers)
- Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)/Section 202/ Section 811
- Public Housing
- Affordable Housing Programs for American Indians, Alaska Natives, or Native Hawaiians
Other Programs –
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits
- Lifeline Assistance Program
Participates in one of these assistance programs and lives on Qualifying Tribal lands –
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal TANF
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribal Head Start (income based)
Documents Required to Prove That You Are Eligible For Affordable Connectivity Program
Just knowing that you are eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program doesn’t help you receive ACP benefits. You will be required to prove your eligibility by furnishing valid official documents and submitting them while applying for the program.
The documents you will need depend on the category you fall into while you apply for the program.
The accepted documents are –
Income Verifying Documents
If you qualify for ACP on a low-income basis, you must submit a document showing your full name and income.
The accepted official documents are –
- Current income statement from your employer
- Paycheck stubs
- Child support award
- A retirement/pension statement of benefits
- A Social Security statement of benefits
- Divorce decree
- Previous year’s federal, state, or Tribal tax return
- Veterans Administration statement of benefits
- Unemployment or Worker’s Compensation statement of benefits
Program Participation Documents
If you qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program on the basis of your participation in a Government assistance program, you will be asked to submit a document that shows your name, program name, participation date, name of the authority issuing that document, and more.
The officially accepted documents are –
- Government Approval Letter
- Benefit award letter
- Statement of benefits
- Benefit verification letter
- General Documents
Apart from the eligibility documents, you will also be asked to verify your age, identity, or address. In such a case, you can submit any of the following documents –
- A valid state, Government, military, or Tribal ID
- Certificate of US Citizenship or Naturalization
- Mortgage or lease statement
- Most recent W-2 or tax return
- US Driver’s license
- Birth Certificate
- Permanent Resident Card or Green Card
- Utility bill
It is also important to note that you need to submit a soft copy of your eligibility documentation or a duplicate rather than the original one during the application process.
How to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program
The application process for the Affordable Connectivity Program is fairly simple and easy. All you need to do is follow these simple steps –
Visit National Verifier’s Official Website
First of all, you need to visit the official website of the National Verifier. This website will let you know if you are eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Select Your State
Here, you will see a drop-down menu. On the drop-down menu, you have to select your state and click on the Get Started button.
Enter Your Information
You will be redirected to an application form. Here, you will have to provide some personal identification information and information proving your eligibility and proceed further.
Upload Your Documents
It will ask you to upload the eligibility supporting documents along with documents to verify your identity. Simply upload the soft copies of the required documents and proceed further.
Submit Your Application
Lastly, you will be asked to submit your documents so that National Verifier can verify whether you are eligible for the program. You will also be asked to accept the Terms & Conditions.
Offline Application via Mail
In case you don’t want to apply online for the Affordable Connectivity Program, you can apply for it offline via mail.
For this, you need to follow these simple steps –
- First of all, visit this URL – https://www.affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/ACP-Application-Form-English.pdf and download and print the application form.
- After that, visit this URL – https://www.affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/lifeline/images/ACP-Household-Worksheet-English.pdf and print the Household Worksheet as USAC recommends submitting it along with your application.
- Fill out the application form properly.
- Attach hard copies of the documents providing your eligibility and proving your identity.
- Send your application to ACP Support Center, PO Box 7081, London, KY 40742.
That’s it. This is how you can easily apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Once approved, you can visit any ACP participating provider that offers services in your state and area.