About The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

What is the ACP Benefit & How Does it Work?

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a benefit program from the U.S. Government that helps low-income families obtain access to broadband internet service and internet-capable devices. High-speed internet is no longer a luxury, but rather a necessity. This is especially true for low-income families, as internet service enables access to the information economy through providing access to work, school, entertainment, telehealth and legal and government services. 

The pandemic spotlighted the importance of universal digital access, as students in low-income households struggled to bridge the divide and keep up with remote learning. With 48 million qualified households or nearly 40% of households in the country qualifying for the program, ACP offers a path forward for digital equity.

What is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a new, long-term, $14 billion government program that helps pay for internet in low-income households and also helps to pay for devices that are internet-capable, like tablets and laptops. 

How Does ACP Work?

If your household is eligible, you could receive up to:

  • A $30 per month discount on your internet service.
  • A $75 per month discount if you’re on qualifying Tribal lands
  • A one-time price reduction of $100 on a computer, laptop, or tablet. There is a minimum copayment of $10, while the maximum copayment is $50.

Households only qualify for a single service discount and a single device discount.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provides a list of eligible broadband service providers for you to contact directly to learn about the plan offerings, such as TruConnect's ACP Plan.

How Do You Qualify for ACP?

Here are six ways to qualify for the ACP: 

  1. Participation in Lifeline, or a lifeline-qualifying program, like TruConnect Lifeline
  2. Having a household income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  3. Participation in the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including the Community Eligibility Provision
  4. Participating in WIC
  5. Being awarded a Federal Pell Grant.
  6. Participation in an existing low-income program already offered by your service provider. 

You are allowed to participate in both APC and the Lifeline program, as long as you are eligible for both programs. This could potentially cover your entire broadband service bill. The Lifeline discount will be applied before the ACP benefit. 

What’s the Difference Between the ACP and the EBB Program?

The ACP program replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. Subscribers enrolled in the EBB program as of December 31, 2021, were given a 60-day transition period to continue their service under EBB and were required to opt-in to the new ACP benefit by March 1, 2021.

Here’s what’s changed:

  1. Monthly Subsidy Amount: With EBB, the maximum monthly benefit was $50 per household. With ACP, it is now $30 a month per household unless you live on Tribal land. For those on tribal land, the monthly benefit will continue to be $75.
  2. New Eligibility Requirements: ACP introduces new ways for households to qualify for the phone and internet program, while also eliminating some of EBB's criteria. This includes expanding the program to households receiving WIC benefits, as well as to households with an income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If your household qualified for EBB "due to a substantial loss of income as a result of a job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020, or by meeting the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's COVID-19 program", you will need to requalify for the ACP benefit.

Consumers Already Using Lifeline or Other Service Provider Programs

If you already participate in the TruConnect Lifeline program, you are eligible for direct enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program. This means you do not need to turn in a new application. If you’re already participating in a low-income program through your service provider, you also may be eligible for direct enrollment. Your service provider will need your consent before enrolling your household in the ACP. 

Income-Based Eligibility

You may be eligible for ACP if your gross yearly household income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Here is a link to an income eligibility chart

Program-Based Eligibility

If you qualify for Lifeline or a Lifeline qualifying program like Medicaid or SNAP, you may be eligible for the ACP. You also may be eligible if you participate in what’s called an ACP-qualifying program like the free and reduced-price school lunch program. Here is the complete list of qualifying programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • Medicaid.
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA).
  • Veterans Pension or Survivors.
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Federal Pell Grant recipients in the current award year.
  • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs. 

Tribal Household Eligibility

If your household is located on qualifying tribal lands, you may qualify for ACP if your household participates in a Tribal assistance program. If your household participates in one of the following programs, your household may be eligible for the ACP.

  • Head Start households that meet the qualifying income standard.
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance.
  • Food Distribution Program located on Indian Reservations.
  • Tribal TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

ACP Benefits Per Household

Only one ACP benefit may be applied to an eligible household. Learn more by:

Enhanced Support Eligibility

If your household is located on qualifying Tribal lands, you are eligible for the enhanced support discount of up to $75 a month towards your broadband service. The one-time device discount may be available as well, but there are no enhanced features. Your household qualifies for the enhanced Tribal benefit as long as you are eligible for ACP. It does not matter how your household qualifies for ACP. You can learn more by visiting USAC's Enhanced Tribal Benefit

Household Benefits

An independent household qualifies for one ACP service benefit and a one-time device benefit of a $100 discount. How is a household defined? A household includes people living at the same address who have combined incomes and household expenses. It does not include all of the people living at the same address; the FCC and USAC acknowledge that more than one household can live at the same address. 

If two households living at the same address apply for ACP, each household will need to fill out the Household Worksheet, the worksheet is available in English and Spanish.

How to Prove Income

You must provide documentation to prove your income to qualify for income eligibility for the ACP. You can submit copies of any of the following documents to verify your household income.

  1. The previous year's tax return. (State, Federal, or Tribal)
  2. Income statement from your employer or a paycheck stub that reflects your current income.
  3. Statement of benefits from Social Security.
  4. Statement of benefits from Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation.
  5. Other official documents with income information such as a child support award or a divorce decree.

You can submit copies of these documents online, with your service provider, or by completing a paper application, (available in  English and Spanish). #ProTip from the USAC: For a more seamless review process, submit your application with a completed Household Worksheet (available in English and Spanish). 

ACP Qualification Through Participation Proof

If you are eligible for Affordable Connectivity Program through participation in a qualifying program, then you will need to submit documentation to prove participation. At a minimum, this document must include:

  1. Your name or the name of your benefit qualifying person. (BQP)
  2. The qualifying program's name, such as WIC
  3. The name of the government agency, Tribal agency, school, school district, program administrator, university, or college that wrote the document
  4. An issue date within the last 12 months, or an expiration date in the future that is in alignment with your benefit period. Here are some exceptions:
    • If you qualify by using the Free and Reduced Price School Lunch Program, or School Breakfast Program (this includes US Department of Agriculture [USDA] Community Eligibility Provision schools), then your documents need to be from the present school year, or the year immediately prior. 
    • If a member of your household is attending a USDA Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school, then all you need to do is show that. An acceptable document contains the name of the enrolled student, the relevant school year, the name and address of the school, and their contact details. 
    • If you’re qualifying by being a Federal Pell Grant recipient, then your document needs to be from the current award year and can also include: screenshots that clearly show you or the student’s receipt of a Pell Grant, a letter written by the student’s school (Eg, university, college, community college or career school), or one by the Department of Education stating that you or the student in your household is a current Pell Grant Recipient. Or you can use your student’s official financial aid award letter, which states the amount of the student’s Pell Grant award for the current year. You can also copy your student’s paid invoice for school since it will clearly show the receipt of a Pell Grant. 

For more information on ACP benefit  qualifications and documentation submission: FCC's ACP Benefit.

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