[PACapitalChapter] NFBPA: Apply for Assistance with Internet Bills, Electronic Devices.

Brian Mackey bmackey88 at gmail.com
Fri May 14 18:23:15 UTC 2021

>From the desk of NFBPA President Lynn Heitz,



Wolf Administration Encourages Pennsylvanians to Apply for Assistance with
Internet Bills, Electronic Devices  


Harrisburg, PA - The departments of Human Services, Labor & Industry, and
Education today announced the availability of the federal Emergency
Broadband Benefit (EBB), a program that will assist eligible households in
paying for internet service and certain electronic devices. 

The EBB, which is administered by the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC), is a temporary program that provides a discount of up to $50 per
month off a qualifying household's internet bill and associated equipment
rental. Additionally, eligible households can receive a one-time discount of
up to $100 towards a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer, provided that the
household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase
price. The EBB is limited to one monthly service discount and one device
discount per household, and the discount will be provided by the FCC
directly to the service provider.

"The past year has shown us just how essential internet access is in order
to connect with our loved ones, our workplaces and schools, and even to
basic needs like telehealth and grocery delivery. We know that the COVID-19
pandemic has made it difficult for many to keep up with bills and expenses,
so we are glad that the FCC is providing this benefit to people who need
it," said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead. "Assistance programs like this
exist to help get you through tough times. I encourage anybody who has
struggled to pay their internet bills to apply for this benefit."

A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of
the criteria below:

* Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or
the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community
Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year; 

* Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; 

* Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the
household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and
$198,000 for joint filers; 

* Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating internet provider's
existing low-income or COVID-19 program; or, 

* Qualifies for the FCC's
c-696e-4271-ac32-1934aef5d7c1> Lifeline program. 

*         Households qualify for the federal Lifeline program if their
income is less than 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or if they or
their child participate in programs including the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI),
Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), or other federal programs.
Eligible participants can receive Lifeline and EBB at the same time. 

*         DHS has partnered with the FCC to provide a real time data
exchange that verifies whether an individual is already receiving SNAP,
Medicaid or SSI so that individuals receiving these programs will be able to
more easily qualify for this new benefit as well as Lifeline. 

"Strong, reliable access to the internet is a necessity for workers because
today's job search and hiring process is conducted almost exclusively
online," said L&I Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier. "The Emergency
Broadband Benefit will help struggling Pennsylvanians apply for jobs,
communicate with hiring managers, and engage in online training programs
that will help lift them out of poverty."

"Access to the internet could be considered a school supply; a critical
resource that supports learning beyond classroom walls," said Acting
Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. "The Emergency Broadband Benefit serves
as another means to bridge the digital divide and create digital equity for
students and families across the state."

Applications for this program open today and will end once the funds are
exhausted or six months after the federal Department of Health and Human
Services declares the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Service providers will
be required to give notice on the last date when the EBB program will end. 

To apply for the EBB program, contact your participating
c-696e-4271-ac32-1934aef5d7c1> broadband service provider, or visit
c-696e-4271-ac32-1934aef5d7c1> getemergencybroadband.org to apply online or
print a paper application to mail in. 

More information on the EBB can be found
c-696e-4271-ac32-1934aef5d7c1> here.  For more information on other public
assistance programs, visit
c-696e-4271-ac32-1934aef5d7c1> www.dhs.pa.gov. 

Disability Rights Pennsylvania
301 Chestnut Street Suite 300 | Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101
800-692-7443 |  <mailto:intake at disabilityrightspa.org>
intake at disabilityrightspa.org

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