Why is Having a Laptop so Important for People?
Most of us can’t even imagine our lives without laptops. Not anymore. We simply rely on this advanced piece of technology too much. We need it for work (especially if we work from home), school, education, planning our vacations, personal projects, entertainment, fun, communication, internet browsing, and much more. Nowadays, having a laptop can almost be considered a basic need. It is almost impossible to go about without a laptop, as people assume that everybody owns a computer and therefore it is expected from employees and students to provide computer-typed assignments. Laptops have become particularly indispensable during the lockdown, as most of us had to work from home and attend virtual classrooms online.
Even though having a laptop has become so important, normal, and expected, unfortunately, some low-income individuals and households can’t afford to buy a laptop.
Is It Possible to Get a Free Laptop With the Food Stamp Program?
Luckily, the government is aware of this issue, therefore they have established certain government assistance programs, such as Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program (former Emergency Broadband Benefit) designed to help low-income people get free wireless service and discounted or even free laptops.
To participate in such a government assistance program, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. You must either come from a low-income household or participate in another government aid program, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.
SNAP or the Food Stamp Program is a federal assistance program that offers food-purchasing assistance for low-income people. Citizens with SNAP benefits receive financial aid each month directly deposited into the household’s EBT card account. SNAP participants may use EBT cards to pay for food at supermarkets, convenience stores, food retailers, and even some farmers’ markets.
Participating in the Food Stamp Program also enables people to enroll in Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and thus possibly receive a free laptop with Food Stamps.
How to Get a Free Laptop With Food Stamps
To receive a free laptop with Food Stamps, you must first enroll in the Food Stamp Program and then apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), through which you may receive the device.
In case you already participate in the Food Stamp Program (SNAP), you can skip the first part and find out how to apply for the ACP program and the free laptop.
To get a free laptop with Food Stamps, you must follow this simple yet vital process:
- Make sure you are eligible to apply for the Food Stamps program. You can see the SNAP eligibility criteria in the next section.
- Collect the documentation that proves your SNAP eligibility.
- Apply for the SNAP program (see how in the next section).
- Once you have successfully enrolled in the SNAP program, you can start your ACP application process. As participating in the Food Stamps program automatically makes you ACP eligible, you don’t have to worry about other eligibility criteria.
- To apply for the ACP program through Food Stamps, you can prove your eligibility by simply providing a document that proves your SNAP participation (e.g. approval letter, statement of benefits, benefit verification letter, benefit award letter).
- Finally, find an ACP provider that offers free laptops with Food Stamps in your state of residence and apply for its program. See how to do so in the section ‘Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Eligibility and How to Apply’.
What is an Affordable Connectivity Program? How to Qualify ACP?
Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP is a new permanent benefit program by the FCC that helps ensure that low-income households can afford broadband services and devices that they need for work, education, and more. On December 31, 2021, it has replaced the temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program that had a similar purpose during the pandemic. A person or household is ACP-eligible if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Your household income is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- You or any of your household members participate in certain federal assistance programs, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Public Housing Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, or certain Tribal Programs.
- You or any of your household members have received a federal Pell Grant award in the current award year.
- You or any of your household members were 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, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year.
- You meet the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income program.
How to Apply ACP
To apply for an ACP program, you must find an ACP provider that offers free laptops with Food Stamps in your state of residence and contact them or fill out their online application form. You can also submit an ACP application directly at acpbenefit.org.
How Do I Qualify for Food Stamps Program to Receive a Free Laptop?
SNAP or the Food Stamps Program is a means-tested program, as such, recipients must meet all eligibility criteria in order to receive it.
- Income requirements: Individuals and households may be SNAP-eligible if they have a gross monthly income that is 130% or less of the federal poverty level.
- Work requirements: People who work at least 30-80 hours a week are SNAP-eligible. Students, caregivers of children under 6 and incapacitated people, disabled people, and people in drug rehabilitation must work 30 hours a week. Able-bodied adults from 18 to 49 who are not pregnant and don’t have dependents under 18 in the household are required to work, volunteer, join workfare, or workforce training for 80 hours a month.
- Resource requirements: Households may have up to $2,250 in a bank account or other countable sources. If at least one person is age 60 or older and/or has disabilities, households may have $3,500 in countable resources. However, these requirements may vary between states.
- Housing expenditure: Housing is generally considered affordable when it costs 30% or less of total household income.
- Immigrant status eligibility: You may be SNAP-eligible if you are a legal immigrant that has lived in the U.S. for 5 years or more are receiving disability-related assistance or benefits or have children under 18.
- Student eligibility: Low-income students may also be SNAP-eligible.
You can apply for the SNAP benefit at mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-snap-benefits-food-stamps.
What Documents Do I Need to Apply for a Free Laptop With Food Stamps
To apply for a free laptop with Food Stamps, you must be able to prove your eligibility by providing certain documents that verify that you meet the SNAP requirements.
- First, you have to prove your identity by providing a birth certificate, driver’s license, state photo ID, or social security card.
- Provide proof of shelter expenses, such as utility bills (electric, gas, or water), rental agreement (lease), or mortgage statement that shows your address, most recent property taxes, insurance statement (homeowner’s or renter’s), or shelter verification form.
- Provide proof of medical expenses (only if you are over 60 years old or a disabled person), such as Medicare Part B&D Premiums, billing statements/unpaid medical bills, or itemized pharmacy print-out for 90 days.
- Provide proof of earned income, such as paystubs for the last 30 days, a statement from the employer as to gross wages, income tax forms, or a self-employment worksheet.
- Provide proof of unearned income, such as bank statements showing direct deposit or agency letters showing money received (Social Security, SSI, VA benefits, child support, alimony, unemployment, and retirement).
How Do I Apply for the Food Stamps Program?
Applying for the Food Stamps (SNAP) program is simple. All you have to do is to follow the instructions below:
- Visit mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-snap-benefits-food-stamps.
- Scroll down and choose how you wish to apply (online, by mail, by fax, in person, or by phone).
- If you wish to apply online, you can do so at https://dtaconnect.eohhs.mass.gov/. Press ‘Apply SNAP’, ‘Get Started’, and complete the SNAP online application form. Once you submit it, you will be notified about your application status via email.
- If you wish to apply by mail, download the SNAP benefits application form at https://www.mass.gov/lists/dta-documentsforms. If you are 60 or more years old, you can use the application for seniors at https://www.mass.gov/doc/english-snap-application-for-seniors-snap-app-seniors-0/download. Download the DTA cover sheet, which is available at https://www.mass.gov/doc/dta-mailfax-cover-sheet/download. Mail the completed forms to DTA Document Processing Center, P.O. Box 4406, Taunton, MA 02780.
- If you wish to apply by fax, you can do the same process as described above (by mail) and fax the completed forms to DTA Document Processing Center, (617) 887-8765.
- To apply in person, you can visit a local DTA office (see the locations at https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-transitional-assistance/locations?_page=1) or a community kiosk (find one at https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-transitional-assistance/locations?_page=1).
- To apply by phone, call DTA Assistance Line at (877) 382-2363 and press 7 to apply for SNAP. The DTA Assistance Line is open from 8:15 A.M. to 4:45 P.M. Monday – Friday.
Where to Apply for a Free Laptop With Food Stamps?
As mentioned before, you can apply for the SNAP program by visiting mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-snap-benefits-food-stamps and choosing your preferred application method (online, by mail, by fax, in person, or by phone). See the instructions above.
What Kind of Free Laptops Can I Get?
Most ACP laptop providers do not reveal which laptop models they offer in advance, as their offer depends on availability and location. However, you shouldn’t expect to receive one of the latest and most powerful laptops with the most advanced features, as ACP providers simply don’t have enough funds to provide customers with the priciest devices.
According to customer reviews, you can expect to receive one of the following laptop brands:
- Google Chromebook
- Dell computer
- Lenovo computer
Can I Get Free Internet for a Laptop With Food Stamps?
In addition to free laptops (or tablets or desktop computers), most ACP providers also offer free internet services for eligible customers. In fact, there are many more ACP providers that offer discounts (of up to $30) on monthly internet services than there are the ones that offer one-time discounts (of up to $100) on internet-connected devices (laptops, tablets, or desktops). As such, if you are a SNAP subscriber and therefore ACP-eligible, you can easily apply for free monthly ACP broadband services. To do so, you must simply:
- Apply for SNAP (or meet another ACP eligibility criteria).
- Collect the documentation that proves your ACP eligibility.
- Apply for the ACP program.
- Find an ACP provider in your area that offers both laptops and free internet services and apply for its program.
Which Companies Offer a Free Laptop With Food Stamps Program?
All Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) providers that offer connected devices offer a free laptop with Food Stamps, as participating in the Food Stamp Program (SNAP) automatically makes you ACP-eligible. You can see the full list of all ACP providers by the state at fcc.gov/affordable-connectivity-program-providers. To find a provider that offers a free laptop with Food Stamps in your state, simply go to the list of providers in your state and look for the ones that have a ‘tick’ symbol under ‘Offering Connected Devices (Laptop, Desktop, or Tablet)’, as others only offer discounts on monthly broadband services and do not offer discounts on connected devices.
To make your decision easier, we have created a list of some of the best companies and ACP providers that offer a free laptop with Food Stamps.
PCs for People
PCs for People is an organization striving to provide basic wireless services and devices to low-income households. It has partnered with the government, therefore it also offers the Affordable Connectivity Program. Through the ACP program, PCs for People offers a $100 discount on quality refurbished desktop computers and laptops and a $10 to $30 reimbursement on internet services. They also provide certain computer accessories, such as modems to eligible low-income people.
To apply, visit acp.pcsrefurbished.com/acp and fill out their application form. You will be required to accept their terms and conditions (read them carefully), create an account, and provide all the necessary information and documentation.
Human I-T is a non-profit organization established to help bridge the digital divide and ensure that low-income people have access to broadband internet and basic electronic devices, such as laptops. The organization also participates in the government ACP program and this offers a discount on high-speed internet and a free laptop with Food Stamps. At Human I-T ACP-eligible customers may receive $85 hotspots plus free monthly service and a discount on a Chromebook that may cost somewhere between $20 and $50.
To apply, visit human-i-t.org/acp and scroll down to their application form. Fill it out by providing the required information and perhaps documentation that may prove your eligibility.
Computers with Causes
Computers with Causes is an organization that offers free computers to people in need, particularly students, teachers, parents, the elderly, foster homes, shelters, disabled US veterans and struggling military families, and nonprofit organizations with similar goals. The organization makes sure to carefully assess the needs of each applicant and gives out free laptops to those who truly need them.
To apply, go to computerswithcauses.org/application and fill out the application form. Make sure to mention your participation in the Food Stamps Program as it may influence their decision.
The On It Foundation
The On It Foundation is a national public non-profit that provides free computers, computer training, and internet to low-income families, as well as internet access to low-income households with students in grades K-12 that receive a free or reduced school lunch, attend a public school, and reside within the United States. If you meet their unique eligibility requirements, you can apply for a free laptop.
To apply, a parent or guardian must write to the On It Foundation to the following address: The On It Foundation Attn: Free Computer Application 18520 NW 67th Avenue, Suite 186 Miami, FL 33015 plus send an email to [email protected] Make sure the letter provides the student’s name, age, grade, school name, school address, and school phone number, as well as the parent or guardian’s name, address, and phone number. Read more at theonitfoundation.org/faqs.
EveryoneOn is an organization that helps bring low-cost internet service and affordable computers to people in need. The organization works with a long list of internet service providers and device providers to feature their low-cost internet services and computers on their platform. All of the services and devices meet the organization’s minimum service, device, and price standards. At EveryoneOn you can get a free laptop with Food Stamps through their ACP program.
To apply, visit everyoneon.org/lowcost-offers and check out their internet and device providers. Read their offers and choose the provider that offers a free laptop with Food Stamps.
Alliance for Technology
This is an organization that is trying to end the digital divide and believes in a thriving nonprofit technology refurbishment industry. They believe that all people should have access to both internet and computers. The organization works in partnership with Interconnection, Computer Reach, Virginia Star, Electronic Access Foundation, and many others and provides free devices for families in need, humanitarian organizations, and charitable organizations.
To apply, visit their website aftrr.org and contact them to ask about your chances of receiving a free laptop with Food Stamps according to your situation and location.
Microsoft Registered Refurbished
This program by Microsoft enables refurbishers (both individuals and organizations) all over the world to collect used computers, refurbish them, and donate them to low-income households who are unable to pay for them themselves. People who participate in any kind of government assistance program (including SNAP) should definitely be able to apply.
To apply, you must prove that you need a laptop or computer but do not have enough money to buy one. To start the application process, go to https://devicepartner.microsoft.com/en-us/communications/comm-microsoft-refurbisher-programs, read more, and contact the provider.
Smartriverside is a nationwide program and non-profit organization that aims to provide low-income families with free laptops, PCs, and even computer learning courses. This organization does not participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program, however, it does provide free devices for people who are unable to afford them. SNAP participants are the people who are unable to purchase quality food, as such, they are almost certainly unable to buy laptops, therefore, they may have a good chance of getting a free device.
Technology for the Future
Technology for the Future is a non-profit organization that is partnered up and receives help from many nationwide organizations, families, and the government. This enables the organization to help people in need (especially students) receive all the resources they need for their education and work, including internet services and computers (desktops or laptops). Whether or not a person can enroll and thus receive help depends on numerous factors, however, being a SNAP subscriber definitely gives you leverage.
World Computer Exchange
This is an organization that has many nationwide partners who help them provide electronic devices to low-income households. It works with numerous NGOs, schools, libraries, and the government to collect and donate laptops to households that cannot afford to purchase them.
To qualify, you must prove that you come from a low-income household, and receiving the SNAP benefits may help you do so. To apply, go to https://worldcomputerexchange.org/get-
involved/get-computers/ and fill out the company’s online application form. If approved, you will be notified via email.
Does Any Wireless Provider Provide Free Laptops With Food Stamps?
Many of the government’s Affordable Connectivity Program participants are wireless companies. They all offer customers discounts on monthly internet services or monthly data. However, only a few of them also offer discounts on internet-connected devices (laptops, tablets, or desktop computers).
Currently, there are no ACP wireless providers that would offer discounts on laptops, however, some of them do offer discounts on tablets instead. The ACP-participating wireless companies that offer free ACP tablets include:
- Q Link Wireless
- StandUp Wireless
- Easy Wireless
- AirTalk Wireless
- Cintex Wireless
- NewPhone Wireless
- Maxsip Telecom
Is There Any Other Way to Get a Free Laptop
In addition to getting a free laptop with Food Stamps through an ACP provider, there are also some other ways of receiving a free laptop for low-income people. For example:
- You can get a free laptop from a charity or non-profit organization. Some of the organizations that offer free laptops include Adaptive.org, Freecycle, Komputers for Kids, Microsoft Registered Refurbishers, National Cristina Foundation, Smartriverside, With Causes, World Computer Exchange, etc.
- You can get a free laptop from a company, such as United Was, St Vincent De Paul, The Open Education Database, SAM.gov Assistance Listings, Interconnection, Craigslist, etc.
- You can get a free laptop through a school or college.
- You can get a free laptop from a library.
- You can get a free laptop from a church.
- You can get a free laptop from a local charity.
Free Laptop Related FAQs
What Is EBT Card?
EBT stands for Electronic benefit transfer, which is an electronic system that allows state welfare departments to issue benefits via a magnetically encoded payment card. The Food Stamps financial aid is deposited directly into the user’s EBT card and the card can be used to pay for food at supermarkets, convenience stores, food retailers, and even some farmers’ markets.
Can I Get a Free Tablet With the Food Stamp Program?
Yes. ACP providers also offer free tablets with Food Stamps. Some of the best ACP providers that offer free government tablets include T-Mobile and Q Link Wireless.
Is Food Stamps and EBT the Same?
Food Stamps and EBT are not the same thing, but they are related. Food Stamps or SNAP is a federal assistance program that offers food-purchasing assistance for low-income people. EBT, on the other hand, is an electronic system that allows a SNAP participant to pay for food using SNAP benefits.
Can I Get an EBT Free Phone?
Yes. Participating in the Food Stamps Program or SNAP may be enough to qualify for the Lifeline program and thus receive a free government phone.
Can I Get a Free Laptop and Internet From the Government?
Yes. Some ACP providers only offer free internet services, however, many of them (including the ones mentioned in this article) offer both a free laptop and internet from the government.
Who Needs a Free Laptop?
Nowadays, all people from the first grade need a laptop for work, education purposes, communication, entertainment, and more. While some can afford to buy a laptop, low-income people, people with disabilities, students, seniors, etc. need a free device.
Do I Need to Pay Any Application Fees for Getting a Free Laptop?
It depends on the provider. Nonetheless, ACP providers do not require customers to pay any application fees.
Why Do Most Organizations Want the Applicant to be a Participant in Food Stamps?
It’s not that most organizations or ACP providers want the applicant to participate in Food Stamps. Instead, according to the government rules, the companies must make sure that the applicant who actually receives a free laptop comes from a low-income family or participates in any government assistance program. The point is to prove that the customer needs a laptop but is unable to afford it.
Can I Get a Free Computer With Low Income?
Yes, only low-income applicants can receive a free laptop. For example, to be ACP-eligible, your annual household income must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Can I Get a Free Laptop From Amazon?
No, Amazon does usually not provide free laptops, however, you may be able to find a highly discounted one that may be used or refurbished.
Are Free Laptops Really Free?
It depends on the provider. If the company offers free laptops through the FCC’s ACP program than the answer is no. According to the government rules, a customer must pay a mandatory co-pay of more than $10 and less than $50 to receive the one-time discount on connected devices of up to $100.