The Missouri Department of Economic Development says a new Emergency Broadband Benefit program has been announced by the Federal Communications Commission. The temporary benefits program is intended to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $3.2 billion dollar Emergency Benefit program will provide a discount that could be as much as $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 dollars for qualifying households. The benefit program would also provide a discount of up to $100 per household if a one-time purchase is made of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes $10 to $50 toward the purchase through a participating provider.
There are some criteria to participate in the program and can be found with this story on northwestmoinfo.com.
A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
Has received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
Has experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail-in application. The State of Missouri has established a landing page for outreach groups and citizens to quickly find more information about the program and contact information for participating providers.