During the COVID-19 crisis, internet access served as a golden delineation between pandemic haves and have-nots. It decided whether you got schooling, visits with doctors, means of work, or the treasured chance to see family and friends’ faces for an entire year in quarantine.
And as the pandemic has crystallized, millions of Americans fall under the have-nots, because they either cannot afford broadband or live in underresourced areas largely neglected by broadband providers.
While that second problem is a greater equality issue, a $3.2 billion chunk of December’s coronavirus relief package has been thrown at the first problem, in the form of $50 monthly internet coupons. The program kicks off today and your household might be eligible if:
- You receive food stamps or Medicaid
- You have a child in the free and reduced-price school lunch program
- You earn 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines
- You experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and earned less than $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers
- If you live on Tribal lands, you might be eligible for a $75 monthly coupon
Additionally, the program offers a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer, as long as the purchaser makes a co-payment of between $10-$50.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, tens of millions of Americans should be eligible—but the funds could run out in as little as a few months.
See the full criteria here.