Internet Assistance as of April 2021Posted on: April 18, 2021
The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.
The government offers discounted internet service for some people. You may be eligible for discounted or free internet assistance. Some programs also offer discounts for computers and tablets.
How can I get free or discounted internet service?
You can apply for free or discounted internet service through the Lifeline program. Eligible customers will save at least $9.25 off their monthly internet bill.
If you already receive a cell phone discount from Lifeline, you cannot also get internet service through the program. However, you may be able to get discounted Internet with a special Covid-related program (more information below). More information on cell phone assistance through Lifeline is available here.
In general, you qualify for the program if:
- You or someone in your household receives:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamps)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but not if you just receive regular Social Security
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Tribal Programs(and live on federally-recognized Tribal lands)
- Your household income is equal to or less than these amounts:
Number of People in Your Household Annual Household Income Monthly Average 1 $17,388 $1,449.00 2 $23,517 $1,959.75
3 $29,646 $2,470.50 4 $35,775 $2,981.25 5 $41,904 $3,492.00 6 $48,033 $4,002.75 7 $54,162 $4,513.50 8 $60,291 $5,024.25 For each additional person, add $6,129 $510.75
To apply for the program, you will need to complete an eligibility form.
- You can complete the eligibility form online here. If you apply online, you may get an immediate decision.
- You can also print out the application and mail it in. The application in English is available here and the application in Spanish is available here. Once you complete it, you will mail it to: Lifeline Support Center P.O. Box 7081 London, KY 40742
When you apply, you will need to provide:
- Your Name
- Your Social Security Number
- A Working Email Address
- A Mailing Address (cannot be a P.O. Box)
- Income or Benefits documentation as listed above. If you are not receiving a government assistance listed above, you should send a copy if your tax return from last year or proof of three months in a row of your income; other proof may be accepted if you do not have year-long income documents.
If you are approved, you will be sent an eligibility certificate. You will present this to a provider that accepts the Lifeline discount to get your discounted Internet service.
- You can ask your current provider if they accept Lifeline or visit this website to see what providers in your area accept the discount.
Are there additional benefits available during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Yes. The federal government has created the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. The program will provide:
- A discount of up to $50 per month towards Internet service for eligible households.
- A discount of up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands.
- Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute at least $10 towards the purchase price.
The benefit is available to eligible new or existing customers of participating companies, but there is a limit of one discount per household.
You can also combine these benefits with other Lifeline benefits. For example, an eligible household could have a Lifeline discount for their cell phone service and can also get discounted Internet with this new program.
Who is eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
A household is eligible if at least one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Qualifies for the Lifeline program (as described above);
- Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, or received free or reduced school lunch in the 2019-2020 school year;
- Is a college student who received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
- Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Will I receive the funds directly?
No. The program will send your benefits to your Internet provider every month.
If I already receive Lifeline benefits will I automatically receive the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
No. You must still enroll in the new program. You can choose to receive the benefit for your current Lifeline service provider or switch to another participating company.
When can I apply for the benefit?
Eligible households will be able to apply starting May 12, 2021. You can apply online at this website or apply directly with the service provider of your choice.
Which companies can I use the discount at?
A number of companies in Louisiana will accept the discount. If you currently have Internet access at home or through your cell phone, you should reach out to your provider to see if they will accept the discount.
Different companies may offer different benefits, and some may not be available in your area.
The companies that are participating in the program in Louisiana are: