The feds are offering to help pay for an internet connection. Here’s who qualifies.

Posted May 14, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic forced schools and workplaces online. Now the federal government — which has grant programs for small businesses, restaurants and more — is going to help low-income households pay to get online.

Applications are now being accepted for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which provides a discount of up to $50 a month or an internet connection or the needed equipment. There’s also a one-time discount of up to $100 to help pay for a laptop, desktop or tablet.

The program was part of the $2.3 trillion coronavirus stimulus and government spending legislation approved in December that also included direct payments of $600 to most Americans.

“From virtual classrooms to telehealth visits, the pandemic has made access to reliable, high-speed internet more important than ever,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th Dist., chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “In this day and age, internet service is a necessity, not a luxury, and ensuring that every family in New Jersey has the ability to telework and stay connected begins with ensuring every family can afford it.

Households with income at no more than 135% of federal poverty guidelines are eligible for the assistance. For a family of four, that’s an income of $35,775 a year.

You also can qualify if you already receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps; Medicaid; Supplemental Security Income or SSI; federal public housing assistance; or the reduced-price school lunch or breakfast program; or receive a veterans pension or survivors benefit.

Households with a substantial loss of income since Feb. 29, 2020, could also qualify as long as their income did not exceed $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for married couples filing jointly. And students who received a federal Pell Grant in the current year also could get help.

Here is the link to apply. For questions, go to getemergencybroadband.org or call 1-833-511-0311.

Applications are being accepted now. The payments will continue until the program runs out of money or the Department of Health and Human Services ends the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever comes first.

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-05-15 04:32:17 -0700