Many households in the US and other parts of the world are struggling financially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you live in such households, paying for internet services might be difficult, considering you have other more pressing needs like feeding and medical bills.
The good news is that you may qualify for discounted internet services. This article examines the SafeLink Emergency Broadband Benefit program and explains how to qualify and apply for it.
The SafeLink Emergency Broadband Benefit Program: A Quick Overview
The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a federal government benefits program offered through participating service providers like SafeLink Wireless. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program aims to assist eligible families and households who can’t afford internet service to access broadband services at discounted rates.
You probably already know that SafeLink Wireless partners with the FCC to offer Lifeline packages, which include free monthly calls, text, and data. However, unlike the Lifeline program, EBB is a temporary emergency benefits program designed for eligible US households who struggle to afford broadband wireless services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The benefits program allows eligible consumers and families to stay connected to critical healthcare services, work remotely, find jobs online, attend online or virtual classes and educational programs, and do lots more. Like many other benefit programs, the EBB program is limited to one discount per household.
While it is a temporary program, there is no exact date for its termination (at least, when this article went to print). That said, the FCC and participating providers will stop offering discounts on broadband services when funds for the program are depleted or six months after the pandemic is deemed officially over.
How Much Can You Get in Discounts?
The Emergency Broadband Benefits program typically provides a monthly discount of up to $50 toward internet services for eligible households. If you live on a qualifying Tribal land, your household may enjoy up to $75 per month in discounts for broadband services.
Additionally, qualifying households may receive a discount of up to $100 to buy an internet-connected device, such as a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet. This offer is subject to the following conditions:
- The discount is a one-off offer
- You must purchase the device from a broadband participating provider, like SafeLink
- You must contribute at least $10.01 but not more than $49.99 toward the purchase price
It is important to mention that eligible households do not receive discounts directly. Instead, each participating broadband service provider receives monthly funds from the EBB program for eligible households enrolling through them.
Why You Should Choose SafeLink Wireless as Your EBB Provider
Operated by TracFone Wireless, SafeLink Wireless is one of the nation’s leading wireless service providers, offering excellent nationwide coverage on America’s best networks. The telecommunication company provides free phones to eligible low-income households.
With the SafeLink Emergency Broadband Benefit, you get the following free services every month:
- Free unlimited voice minutes
- Free unlimited text
- Free unlimited data
- Wireless Hotspot (only available to users on the T-Mobile network)
- International Calling (call up to 15 unique international mobile or landline numbers in selected destinations)
Keep in mind that these services vary depending on where you live. Also, the SafeLink EBB monthly free service is a time-limited offer, so you might want to opt in now and grab the opportunity while it is still available.
Who Is Eligible for the SafeLink Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
Households can become eligible for the program if they meet certain income limits. Your household income must not exceed 135% of the Federal Poverty Guideline.
Also, you can qualify for the EBB program if your household suffered considerable loss of income due to the pandemic or meet SafeLink’s eligibility criteria for participating in its low-income program.
Additionally, you can qualify for the SafeLink EBB program if you or someone in your household participates in any of the following assistance programs:
If you already receive Lifeline benefits from SafeLink, you will not automatically receive the Emergency Broadband Benefit. You must opt-in for the EBB program with the provider to receive a discount on internet service.
Required Documents for the EBB Program
Typically, SafeLink will automatically confirm your eligibility for the EBB program and free benefits by checking the database of certain eligibility programs like Medicaid or SNAP. Eligibility confirmation happens during the enrolment process.
However, if your eligibility cannot be confirmed automatically, you will be required to provide the following documents as proof of eligibility:
- Benefit award letter
- Approval letter
- Benefit verification letter
- Statement of benefits
- Proof of identity (a copy of your passport, individual taxpayer identification, social security number, driver’s license, or any other government-issued ID)
- Proof of address (a copy of any official document clearly showing your physical address in addition to your first and last name)
If you or someone in your household receives federal Pell Grants, the eligibility document should be from the current academic year and can include any of the following:
- The applicant’s copy of the EBB Program email from the Department of Education.
- Screenshot showing the applicant’s receipt of a Pell Grant in the current academic year.
How to Apply for the SafeLink EBB Program
Here’s how to apply for the EBB through SafeLink:
- Visit the provider’s Emergency Broadband Benefit application page
- Click the Opt-In Now button
- Click the Log In With Enrolment Number tab if you already have an enrolment number. Alternatively, click on the Log In with Personal Information tab
- Provide the requested information (date of birth, Zip Code, last four digits of your social security number, etc.)
- Click Continue
- Sign the SafeLink form electronically and enjoy monthly discounts on your internet bill
If you struggle with internet service bills but want affordable connectivity, take advantage of the SafeLink Emergency Broadband Benefit program to enjoy monthly discounts on broadband wireless service. The application process is quick and easy, and SafeLink’s time-limited free services make the provider’s offer highly attractive.