TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Federal Communications Commission is launching a program to help families struggling with internet costs during the pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit program offers families:
- Up to a $50/month discount on their broadband service and associated equipment rentals
- Up to a $75/month discount if their 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)
Commissioner Susan Duffy with the Kansas Corporation Commission said families were forced to make tough financial decisions due to the schools switching to in-person learning last year.
“Parents have had to put out extra money to ensure that their child could hook up and still receive that instruction via the internet.”Commissioner Susan Duffy
Duffy said that families will not receive the money directly. Instead, the discounts will be given through the internet provider.
Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household. A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:
- 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.
Duffy suggests Kansans apply as soon as possible. Click here for more information.
The FCC has announced that 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.