For many families, tech readiness was something that we had to do this spring to balance out learning from home, working from home, and entertaining ourselves when we couldn’t leave the house.
While many of us may have found ways to make things work, we know that these times are hitting everyone’s wallets in ways that we never could have imagined. So we’ve compiled some resources for you to help save money where you can.
There is a range of government subsidies and affordable internet programs available to low-income households. In light of COVID, many of these programs have waived typical requirements or have offered extra discounts to help families stay connected.
Lifeline is a government-backed program that provides monthly phone or internet service discounts for low-income households. They can provide up to a $9.25 monthly discount on either phone or internet service, but not both. The service is also limited to one per household.
You can qualify either through your income or through a government program. While the income threshold varies by household size and state you live in, the average federal poverty guideline is an annual income of $34,000 for a family of four. If you fall within this threshold, you can qualify for Lifeline assistance.
You can also qualify through a government program. If you or someone in your household participates in certain federal assistance programs, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Medicaid, you may qualify for Lifeline. You can also sign up for Lifeline if your child or dependent participates in any of the programs. Check here to see if you qualify.
ConnectHomeUSA is a public-private collaboration to narrow the digital divide for families with school-age children who live in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) assisted housing. They help provide low-cost broadband access, devices, and digital literacy training for low-income families. Their goal is to close the digital divide.
They currently operate in over 80 communities in the US, and continue to expand every year. Residents are able to access a wide-range of resources, from digital literacy courses to discounted devices. If your area is not already a part of ConnectHomeUSA, there are options to initiate the program in your own community.
Cox and Mediacom both offer the Connect2Compete program. They offer affordable internet to families with K-12 students who already participate in government assistance programs such as the National School program, Head Start, and SNAP. Cox is currently offering special discounts on top of the program in response to COVID. This includes two months free Connect2compete service, resources for discounted, refurbished equipment and school toolkits to keep families connected to the internet. Other restrictions apply, see if you qualify here.
Altice Advantage internet
This is a low-cost broadband service available to eligible families, veterans and senior citizens. Altice Advantage is an initiative that works with the National School Lunch Program and New York City public schools.