June 15 2021 0comment

United Way Offering Additional Assistance for Emergency Broadband Benefit Participants

United Way of the Wabash Valley’s Youth Success Council and Strong Neighborhoods Council have joined forces to offer additional assistance for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Emergency Broadband Benefit.  The temporary benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The $3.2B Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households.  The benefit also provides up to a $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider.  The additional assistance offered by United Way is up to $100 to offset the internet installation costs of Emergency Broadband Benefit participants.

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

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Emergency Broadband Benefit enrollment is currently open and households can apply by contacting their preferred participating broadband provider directly, online at GetEmergencyBoradband.org, or by calling 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application.  A list of participating providers and additional information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at  www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

United Way’s additional assistance is open to any household that is participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program in the Indiana counties of Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion, and Vigo.  Households can apply for up to $100 to offset internet installation costs which will be paid directly to service providers.  To receive the United Way’s additional assistance, proof of program participation and a copy or photo of the internet bill can be sent to [email protected] or by mail to 100 S. 7th Street, Terre Haute, IN, 47807.

Liz Metzger, Co-Chair of the United Way’s Youth Success Council stated, “The importance of internet access across our community has been demonstrated by the pandemic.  There are many agencies across our community and country working to narrow the digital divide, and our councils wanted to find a way to lend a hand to those who are struggling with internet connectivity.  The opportunity to help promote and offer additional assistance to an already established federal program was the best solution for us.  We hope households across the Wabash Valley can take advantage of this program to help ease the burden of internet costs.”