Home Personal Finance This new coronavirus stimulus check will help you pay your internet bill

This new coronavirus stimulus check will help you pay your internet bill

You might have already got your third stimulus check and are now waiting for Congress to approve another stimulus payment. The chances of another round of stimulus checks, however, looks grim. You can still qualify for a sort of coronavirus stimulus check that could help you pay your internet bill.

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Coronavirus stimulus check to pay internet bill

This program, called the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, is for families struggling to pay for the internet because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows low-income families to apply for a discount on their monthly internet bills.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is part of the stimulus plan that was approved by Congress in December. Under this program, eligible households would get a discount of up to $50 on their monthly broadband bill. This program is administered by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

You can get a discount of up to $75 a month if your home is on qualifying tribal lands. Additionally, the program offers a one-time discount of up to $100 on the purchase of a laptop, tablet or desktop computer.

“Families in every corner of the country have been struggling to get online throughout this pandemic,” the FCC’s acting chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, said in a press release. "No one should have to choose between paying their internet bill or paying to put food on the table."

A report last year, referring to the 2018 American Community Survey data, noted that about 16.9 million kids don’t have access to high-speed home internet, while about 7.3 million children don’t have a PC, laptop or tablet.

How to apply for Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

To qualify for this program, you need to meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Your income should be equal or less than 135% of the federal poverty line or you get assistance via SNAP or Medicaid programs.
  • You were eligible to get benefits under the free and reduced-price school breakfast or lunch program during the last or current school year.
  • Your income dropped substantially due to losing your job, or being furloughed since Feb. 29, 2020. Also, your income last year should be at or below $99,000 for single filers ($198,000 for joint filers).
  • You meet the eligibility criteria set for low-income or for COVID-19 programs set by participating providers.

The application process for the program starts Wednesday (May 12). Eligible households can apply for the program through an approved provider, or apply directly by visiting GetEmergencyBroadband.org. You can visit FCC’s website to check if your provider is one of the participating companies or not.

You can also mail in the application after downloading it from the FCC site. The form is available in English, Spanish and eight other languages. Along with the form, you also need to send your proof of eligibility to the emergency broadband support center in Kentucky.