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The Federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides financial assistance for internet bills to low-income households. You could save up to $30 on your monthly internet expenses or even $75 if you're a resident of tribal lands.
This federal program also provides a one-time discount of $100 on a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet through a participating provider.
How to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program
There are a few ways to apply for this government program, the easiest of which is online. There are a couple of other steps to do first, though.
Determine ACP eligibility
You'll likely be eligible for ACP if anyone in your home participates in government assistance programs such as:
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Free and reduced-price school lunch or breakfast
- Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
If you don't fit into any of these categories, don't worry. You can establish your household's eligibility by submitting tax returns or recent pay slips.
Qualification based on income varies depending on your state and household size. You may be eligible if your household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
For example, a three-person household in Texas must have an annual income below $46,060 to qualify, while a single-person household in Hawaii needs to earn less than $31,260 per year.
Gather required documents
To submit your ACP application, you may need documentation. You can send these electronically or through regular mail. Should you opt for postal mail, make sure to send only copies, never the originals, and ensure that the documents are current.
Here's what you'll need:
- Verification of Identity: Acceptable documents are a driver's license, birth certificate, passport, social security card, tax-related papers (such as a W-2 form, ITIN document, or your tax return from the previous year), or an identification card issued by the military, a governmental body, or a tribal authority.
- Evidence of ongoing life activity: To counter fraud, you must show some form of activity from the last three months that proves you are alive. This can be a current utility bill, a recent paycheck stub, or a benefits statement from your retirement or unemployment plan.
- Confirmation of residential address: A document displaying both your name and address is necessary. If the documents you're submitting for identity or life activity verification already include your address, then no additional proof is needed.
- Verification of date of birth: At least one of the formal documents you provide must feature both your name and birth date. You're all set if an identification document you're already sending has this information. Otherwise, a resident card, green card, or U.S. citizenship/naturalization certificate can be used as evidence of your birth date.
- ACP household worksheet: Consider this as your application form. Only one worksheet is needed per household. Download your worksheet.
- Documented proof of qualification: Finally, one of the most crucial aspects is to substantiate your eligibility. You can do this by:
- Supplying an official document or letter confirming that you're a recipient of a government benefit as previously mentioned (e.g., SNAP or a Pell Grant) OR
- Presenting three successive pay slips from the current year or a recent tax return to validate your income level
All of this sounds more overwhelming than it is. Since certain documents, like your state ID, can serve as more than one kind of proof, you probably won't need six separate documents.
Submit your ACP application
There are three ways to apply for the ACP credit:
Apply for ACP online
Go to Get Internet and click the Apply button. Multi-language instructions are also available.
Online applications might result in instant approval.
Apply for ACP by mail
You can print out the application and Household Worksheet in English or Spanish. Additional language options for instructions are available.
The government strongly recommends sending the Household Worksheet along with your mail-in application. Send these items, along with copies of your supporting documents, to:
ACP Support Center
PO Box 9100
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773
Contact your internet service provider
Inquire with your home internet service provider or your cell phone carrier about their participation in the ACP. Some offer specific plans for eligible households priced under the benefit amount so that you get your internet or cell phone plan free.
If you don't have an ISP, find ACP companies in your area using your ZIP code. These providers can assist you with their alternative application processes.
What happens after you apply for the ACP
If you've submitted your application online, you may receive instant approval. If automatic eligibility verification isn't possible, you'll be contacted about how to submit additional documentation.
After your application gets approved, you can choose from among participating Affordable Connectivity Program providers.
To learn more about specific offerings available to ACP recipients, consult a participating internet service provider.
How to Apply for ACP if you already use Lifeline
If you participate in the Lifeline program, you can easily sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) by contacting your current internet provider. There's no need for a separate application.
You can either:
- Discuss ACP-related offerings with your current Lifeline provider, including the option to combine discounts, or
- Get in touch with a different internet service provider that participates in ACP to allocate your benefit to an alternative service.
Lifeline can only be applied to phone service, while the ACP benefit can be applied to home internet or a cell phone plan with data. If you choose a cell phone plan, you can then stack Lifeline and ACP for a bigger discount.
What to do if you don't qualify for ACP
If you don't meet the eligibility criteria for the Affordable Connectivity Program, you can still save money on your internet access.
Switching to a low-cost carrier called an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) can save you up to $700 annually on your cell phone bill. That's just about as much as you'd have saved with the ACP discount.
MVNOs operate on the AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon networks. That means you get reliable 4G LTE and 5G wireless coverage at about half the cost. Choose from a variety of budget-friendly data plans, including unlimited data plans.
How to Apply for ACP FAQs
If you're wondering how to apply for the federal Affordable Connectivity Program, don't worry, it's simple. The application process guides you through step-by-step, making it easy to find out if you qualify for a monthly service discount.