When the COVID pandemic struck us, a lot of lives were ruined. The pandemic brought a great impact in our lives leaving millions of families affected. However, we must admit that this experience taught us a lot of lessons. Among them, was the importance of having a reliable internet connection! After the pandemic, a lot of activities were transitioned from in-person to virtual platforms. From schooling activities, work, healthcare, businesses and connection with friends and family, internet access became so crucial. However, internet service bills and connectivity devices are not as cheap. Also, the pandemic brought about loss of jobs and businesses. Therefore, jobless and low income families could really struggle to get connected.
Luckily, the good US government brought a number of relief programs to help affected families remain connected. One of them was the Emergency Broadband Benefit program (EBB). This was a temporary benefit program that was initiated to help low income families afford internet connection through participating service providers like Spectrum. Through the government, spectrum offered EBB benefits to qualified families until 31st December 2021. After, spectrum EBB shuttered and got replaced by Spectrum affordable connectivity program. Therefore, spectrum ACP is a newly initiated program that offers discounts on internet services and connectivity devices to qualified families. Since spectrum affordable connectivity program is new, a number of consumers want to know how it works. As a result, we came with this guide to update, inform and educate more on the program. Stay tuned!
What Is Affordable Connectivity Program?
The mission of this program is to help low income families afford broadband services and internet connected devices through participating service providers. Also known as ACP, Affordable Connectivity Program is a FCC program that helps eligible beneficiaries to remain connected, study, work and access healthcare. To put things into perspective, this program provides up to $30 monthly discounts on internet services to eligible families and up to $75 monthly discounts to qualified families on tribal lands. However, the above mentioned monthly discounts are limited to one time in a month.
In addition, the program offers up to $100 one-time discount to purchase a tablet, laptop, desktop or computers to affected qualified households. This is after paying $10 to $50 of the buying price. Note that to get these benefits, you must strictly be a member of any federal assistance program or have a total household income equal or below 200% of the federal poverty guideline.
How Does Affordable Connectivity Program Work With Spectrum?
As mentioned above, ACP offers their benefits through participating wireless service providers. It’s prudent to mention that there are several ACP service providers with divergent ACP benefits. One of these providers is spectrum mobile.
Spectrum is one of the most reliable and trusted internet providers in the US. The company uses Verizon wireless network tower thus known to provide powerful internet connection to its customers. Besides, the company offers ACP program benefits to qualified families through the government.
ACP works with spectrum by helping eligible spectrum customers to pay for internet services. Spectrum ACP offers up to $30 per month on broadband services and up to $75 per month to qualified tribal lands. Also, spectrum gives a one-time monthly discount per household to buy internet devices. This includes a single person or a group of individuals that lives together and share their income. If you have any further questions about spectrum ACP, you can contact them on (833)267-6094.
What Changed Between Spectrum EBB And ACP?
We have already mentioned that spectrum EBB was transitioned to spectrum ACP at the close of the year 2021. To be more precise, spectrum EBB was the first initiated program between the two. The program was short term and operated from 12th of May 2021 to 31st of December 2021. Thereafter, spectrum ACP replaced EBB with a 60 days transition period. Here, eligible spectrum EBB households will continue receiving their benefits until 1st of March 2022. Therefore, spectrum EBB was a short term program while ACP is expected to work on long term basis.
Secondly, spectrum EBB discounts are different from ACP. While the EBB program was operating, eligible households used to receive up to $50 monthly discount on broadband services. This changed as spectrum ACP eligible households are now receiving $30 monthly discounts on internet services. Note that $75 monthly service discounts on tribal land and $100 one-time device discount are the same in both programs.
The third change was on income qualification. To qualify for spectrum EBB, your total household income was equal or below 135% of the federal poverty guideline. This changed as spectrum ACP households are required to have a total household income that is equal or below 200% of the federal poverty guideline.
Spectrum Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Qualifications
It’s no doubt that large number of consumers would love to participate in spectrum ACP as it provides amazing offers. Unfortunately, this program is not meant for everyone. In fact, the program is only geared to low income households that are straining to remain connected. In this case, at least one member of your household must meet any of the above eligibility criteria to qualify for this program.
If you participate in any assistance program
There are myriad of government assistance programs that are put in place to help qualified families access other crucial needs. Since these programs are strictly meant to benefit low income earners, their beneficiaries automatically qualify for spectrum ACP. Some of these programs are:
- Medicaid or Medical Assistance
- Veterans Survivor Pension Fund
- Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP
- Food Stamps
- SSI(Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SSI
- Federal Pell grant during current academic years
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP
- Federal Public Housing Assistance Program(Section 8)
The above mentioned are meant to benefit qualified households in non-tribal lands. It’s important to mention that beneficiaries of tribal lands assistance programs also qualify for spectrum ACP. Some of the available tribal lands programs are:
- Tribal Head Start
- Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for the Needy Families
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance or BIA
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations or FDPIR
If you participate in federal lifeline program
If any member of your household participate in federal lifeline program, you become qualified to benefit from spectrum ACP program. Although lifeline is meant to make connection services easier and affordable, you can receive both ACP and lifeline benefits at the same time. Therefore, ACP benefits will be an additional benefits to your already existing lifeline benefits.
You must be from a low income household
Spectrum ACP is limited to families that earn lower that the set threshold. Precisely, you must have an income that us below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Note that poverty guidelines are annual and differ from state to the other. These guidelines also differ depending on your household size. To confirm your household eligibility depending on your state, open this page https://aspe.hhs.gov/topics/poverty-economic-mobility/poverty-guidelines
- If you are a WIC beneficiary. : This is a government supplemental nutrition program mean to help low income women, infants and children to receive food or healthcare help so as to avoid nutritional risk.
- If you have received a Federal Pell grant. : This is a government subsidy meant for needy students to help them pay college fees. The fact that this award is limited to financial strained students makes you eligible for spectrum ACP.
- If you have a form of disability. : If you portray any form of disability with proof form any reputable health facility, you also qualify for spectrum ACP.
- If you have been approved to get reduced or free school lunch, school breakfast program.
- Finally, you qualify for spectrum ACP. : if your child/dependent is approved to receive help from any of the above government assistance program.
Documents Needed To Apply for Spectrum Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Benefits
During your spectrum ACP application, there are a number of MUST eligibility documents to attach. These documents are crucial as they help the national verifier to confirm and approve your application. Below is a sample of eligible documents needed during the application:
- Government issued ID
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s license
- Social security statement of benefits
- Current income statement
- Employment statement of benefit
- SNAP approval letter
- Medicaid card
- Tribal head start cover letter
- Federal Public Housing Assistance Program membership letter among others.
Spectrum Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Application Process
Spectrum ACP requires eligible beneficiary to enroll for the program before receiving their benefits. To enroll, there are a number of applicable steps to follow. Below is the procedure to follow when applying for spectrum ACP:
- Check if you qualify : Before applying for spectrum ACP, ask yourself whether you qualify for the program. In this page, we have covered spectrum ACP eligibility rules to help you determine whether you qualify or not. If you meet any of the above requirement, time is ripe to proceed with the application procedure.
- Visit ACP website : To apply for spectrum ACP, You have to send an application form through the national verifier. The good news is that you can readily obtain the application form online. This allows you to conduct everything at the comfort of your home. To apply, visit ACP website, https://www.affordableconnectivity.gov/ and tap on “apply now”
- Fill the form : The ‘apply’ now link will redirect you to national verifier application form. When filling the provided form, you should submit valid and updated personal information. Provide:
- Your official name
- Your address
- Home address
- Your date of birth
- Your SSN
- Tap to indicate whether you qualify yourself or through a dependent
- After providing the above information, tap on ‘next’ to go to the next step.
- Prove eligibility : At this stage, you are required to attach a copy of qualification document. Attaching these documents is to prove that you have a low income or participate in a government assistance program. After attaching all your documents, submit your form and wait for approval.
- Get approved : After submitting your form, the national verifier will check to determine whether you qualify for ACP. Thereafter, you will get an approval notification through contact detailed provided during the application. Whether approved or declined, you will be notified through your contacts. Note that the approval process takes a few business days.
- Enroll for spectrum ACP program : Once approved for ACP by the lifeline national verifier, you should contact spectrum for further guidance. Alternatively, you can sign in for Spectrum ACP through this simple process:
- Visit spectrum sign in page.
- Enter your username, password
- Tap “sign in” and start receiving your spectrum ACP benefits.
Restrictions for Spectrum ACP
Spectrum ACP has a few restrictions on users. To begin with, the program is restricted to low income consumers only. Here, you must be participant of any assistance program or have a total household income that is below 200% of the federal poverty guideline.
Another restriction is on spectrum ACP benefits. This is where these benefits are non-transferrable. Therefore, you can’t transfer your spectrum ACP benefits from one person to another. In addition, these benefits are restricted to one member of a household.
Besides, spectrum ACP internet service discount are restricted to one time monthly. Therefore, you can’t receive more than on spectrum ACP discounts per month. Also, there is a one-time discount restriction on internet connection devices like laptops and tablets. Last but not least, you must fill and submit an application form, get approved by the national verified before enrolling for spectrum ACP.
Can I get a free tablet with spectrum ACP?
As stated earlier, Spectrum ACP provides a one-time discount on tablets and other connectivity devices. However, you must provide a purchasing price of $10 on the minimum and $50 on the maximum before getting your discounted tablet. Therefore, it’s unfortunate that you can’t get a free tablet under spectrum ACP. However, you will be able to get a discount while buying your desired tablet.
What states receive spectrum ACP?
Arizona, Connecticut, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, Mississippi, Nevada, south Carolina, Texas and Vermont among others.
How long will spectrum ACP Last?
As of now, it’s indefinite on how long spectrum ACP should last. However, ACP is a long term program thus expected to last for long. Also, spectrum will notify their participating customers one month before the program ends.