The Internet remains unaffordable for many in our community, and in the age of technology – particularly when dealing with a pandemic – it’s more important than ever. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a benefit program put in place by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help ensure that all households can afford broadband internet connection for school, work, telehealth, and more. There are several Affordable Connectivity program qualifications to be mindful of, including Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability. We break down what qualifies for this program and how to apply for SSDI and SSI internet.
What Is the Affordable Connectivity Program?
The FCC’s goal with this program is to provide access to reasonably priced internet services, reducing the cost of getting online for individuals who need it. The ACP helps protect its recipients by:
- Giving them the opportunity to choose the service plan that best suits their needs, rather than forcing them into a lower quality or more expensive plan in order to qualify
- Allowing the option to switch providers or offerings
- Offering program enrollment regardless of credit status, previous debts, or past due balances
- Not holding customers liable for early termination fees
- Reducing financial pitfalls, like bill shock
As part of the program, households can receive a discount of up to $30 per month on internet services, $75 per month for residents on qualifying Tribal lands, and a one-time discount of up to $100 on the purchase price of electronics such as desktop computers, tablets or laptops from participating providers.
What Are the Affordable Connectivity Program Qualifications?
There are several ways a person or household can qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program. These qualifications are based on household income, participation in certain federal assistance programs, and tribal assistance programs.
A household is considered eligible for the ACP if they are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
If members of a household are taking part in certain government assistance programs, they too can qualify for the ACP. The programs that currently qualify for ACP include:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- School Breakfast Program or Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program
- Current-year Federal Pell Grant recipients
If you live on qualifying Tribal lands and your household is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, you are eligible for ACP. You also qualify if your household includes participants in any of the following government assistance programs (in addition to the programs listed above):
- Head Start
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
How Does the ACP Impact Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Recipients?
Because it’s a qualifying federal assistance program, anyone who receives Supplemental Security Income is eligible to receive discounted SSI internet through the Affordable Connectivity Program. The Social Security Administration doesn’t count ACP as a resource or income for SSI, so this assistance does not have an impact on your SSI payment.
Applying for the Affordable Connectivity Program
It’s very easy to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program! There are two steps needed to complete your enrollment:
- Submit your application, either by printing out a mail-in copy or by going to AffordableConnectivity.gov.
- Reach out to a preferred provider and select the plan that best fits your needs. Depending on your provider, they may request an additional or alternative application before applying the ACP discount.
Woodruff & Mathis
Our disability attorneys at Woodruff & Mathis are here to help! To learn more about our services and the legal support we can provide clients regarding Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), please request an appointment or contact us today.