Have You Applied for Your $50.00 off of Your Internet Bill Yet?

A student uses a laptop computer to in this MLive-The Flint Journal file photo from 2012. The Flint Journal

As part of the government’s emergency program to keep people connected during the coronavirus pandemic, the government is giving Americans $50.00 off of their monthly internet bill.

The $3.2 billion program is part of the $900 billion December pandemic-relief package. The Federal Communications Commission responsible for this program did not specify how long this will last, but it is expected to last for several months. Millions are eligible. You can go to: https://getemergencybroadband.org to find out if you qualify. Some eligibility requirements are: if your household receives food stamp; are you a recipient of Medicaid; loss of income during the pandemic.

Even if you owe your telephone or cable company money, you are still eligible. More than 800 cellphone and home-internet companies are participating, including AT&T, Charter, Comcast, T-Mobile and Verizon.

People in tribal areas are eligible for up to $75 off their bill. There is also a $100 reimbursement for desktop computers, laptops or tablets.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit program offers more in helping people afford internet than Lifeline, the FCC’s other affordability program, which subtracts only $9.25 a month from phone or internet bills. A household can use both the Lifeline and EBB programs. The Emergency Broadband Benefit program is only temporary.

The FCC on Tuesday approved a $7.2 billion program for schools and libraries to connect students in their homes. The Treasury Department is also setting up a $10 billion fund for improving internet connectivity. The money for both came from the $1.9 trillion March pandemic relief package.

– Ella Breedlove