You’ve probably heard the rumors that you can get a free tablet from the government. But perhaps you’re not sure if the rumors are correct and exactly how to apply for a free tablet from the government. If so, you’ve come to the right place, as we’re about to uncover all of the mysteries about free government tablets. To find out more, keep reading.
Is it Really Possible to Get a Free Tablet from the Government
Are the rumors true? The answer is yes and no. Let’s clarify.
During the pandemic, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) launched a new government benefit program that helps make sure that low-income households can afford to purchase the internet services they need for work, education, healthcare, and other vital endeavors. This new assistance program is called the Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP and it’s distributed by participating wireless companies.
ACP offers discounts on monthly broadband services of up to $30 for eligible non-Tribal households or $75 a month for eligible Tribal households. Certain participating companies also offer a one-time discount of up to $100 to buy a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Nevertheless, while the discount on an internet-connected device is real, the FCC’s rule states that whoever wishes to take advantage of this discount must pay a mandatory co-pay of more than $10 and less than $50 to obtain the device.
Many wireless companies will only charge you $10.01 for the tablet, as such, it’s safe to talk about getting ‘free’ tablets from the government, even though they are not completely free of charge.
How to Get a Free Tablet From the Government
To get a free tablet from the government, you must apply for it. In the main section below, we will explain exactly how you can do so. But before you can apply, there are some other steps that you must take:
- Step 1: You must check whether or not you qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program.
- Step 2: You must make sure that you can prove your eligibility to the government during the application process.
- Step 3: You must make copies of your proof documentation in advance to ensure a fast and smooth application process.
Let’s break down these steps in the following section.
What to Do Before You Can Apply for a Free Tablet From the Government
Before you can begin your ACP application process to get a free tablet from the government, you must first take the steps listed above. Here is how to do so:
- You can check your ACP eligibility by reviewing the eligibility criteria below. This way, you will immediately be able to tell whether or not you qualify. You can qualify based on either one of the following two criteria:
- Income-based eligibility. You qualify if your annual household income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. The guidelines depend on the state and your household size. See the guidelines for your state and household size at affordableconnectivity.gov/do-i-qualify/#:~:text=Based%20on%20Your%20Income,the%202023%20Federal%20Poverty%20Guidelines.
- Program participation-based eligibility. You qualify if you or another household member participate in a qualifying government assistance program, such as:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as Food Stamps
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard)
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year
Moreover, to apply, you must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor, the only applicant in your household (exceptions apply), and a resident of one of the states where your selected participating wireless company operates.
You can make sure that you can prove your ACP eligibility by finding valid official documents that confirm either your income-based eligibility or your program participation-based eligibility and verify your personal information. You will be required to submit those documents as proof of eligibility during the application process. Acceptable documents include:
- A valid official document that includes your full legal name and income, such as a prior year’s state, federal, or Tribal tax return, current income statement from your employer or a paycheck stub, a Social Security statement of benefits, etc., to prove your income.
- A valid official document that includes your full legal name, the name of the assistance program, the name of the issuing institution, and a valid date, such as an approval letter, benefit award letter, benefit verification letter, statement of benefits, etc., to prove your participation in a qualifying government assistance program.
- A valid official document that includes your full legal name and date of birth, such as a valid ID, birth certificate, passport, etc., to verify your age and identity.
- A valid official document that includes your full legal name and physical address, such as a valid ID, driver’s license, utility bill, etc., to verify your address.
A valid official document that includes your full legal name and confirmation of emancipation, such as a court document or a certificate of emancipation to verify your emancipation.
You can make copies of these documents using a copy machine, scanner, camera, or smartphone, depending on whether you wish to make physical or digital copies, which depends on how you wish to apply (online or via mail). Make sure that the copies are not dark or blurry and never submit original documents. You will be able to submit your proof documentation online, via mail, or by contacting your selected internet company.
How to Apply for a Free Tablet From the Government in 2023
There are several ways to apply for a free tablet from the government, depending on your situation, needs, and preferences.
You can apply through the National Verifier (the company that is designed to verify whether or not an applicant qualifies for government benefits) – online or via mail. Some wireless companies will allow you to apply directly through them as their application form is automatically run through the National Verifier, while other companies may require you to first apply through the National Verifier and then through them. Moreover, if you are already a Lifeline subscriber, your application process will be a bit different as well. Let’s dive deeper into all the ways to apply for a free tablet from the government in the following sections.
How to Apply for a Free Tablet From the Government Online
The first, fastest, and most popular way to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program is online through the National Verifier. To do so, follow these simple steps:
- Visit nv.fcc.gov/apply?id=acp&awsl=link-from-how-to-apply.
- Login or create a new account if prompted.
- Fill out the online application form by providing all the required information and proof documentation in digital form.
- Submit the application.
If you apply this way, you may receive immediate approval. If necessary, see the application instructions in another language at affordableconnectivity.gov/help/tools/#instructions.
After your application gets approved, the company will notify you about its decision. If the National Verifier is unable to confirm your eligibility automatically, they will request additional information and notify you about how to provide and submit those additional documents. You can then choose an ACP company that offers free tablets in your area at affordableconnectivity.gov/companies-near-me and sign up for its services. Make sure to choose the provider wisely based on their benefits.
How to Apply for a Free Tablet From the Government Via Mail
To apply through the National Verifier via mail, follow these simple steps:
- Print out an application at affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/ACP-Application-Form-English.pdf.
- Print out a Household Worksheet at affordableconnectivity.gov/wp-content/uploads/lifeline/images/ACP-Household-Worksheet-English.pdf. This step is optional but recommended.
- Complete both forms by providing all the required information.
- Add physical copies of your proof documentation.
- Send the package to the National Verifier’s address. Note that the institution has a new address, which is ACP Support Center, PO Box 9100, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773.
It may take a while for your application to get approved. If you need to read the application instructions in another language, go to affordableconnectivity.gov/help/tools/#instructions.
After your application gets approved, the National Verifier will notify you about its decision. If they are unable to confirm your eligibility automatically, they will request additional information and notify you about how to provide and submit those additional documents. You can then choose an ACP company that offers free tablets in your area at affordableconnectivity.gov/companies-near-me and sign up for its services. Compare companies based on the benefits they offer to select the one that most fits your needs.
How to Apply for a Free Tablet From the Government Through Your Internet Company
To apply for a free tablet from the government through your internet provider that participates in the ACP program, follow these simple steps:
- If you already have an internet company, make sure to contact its customer support service and ask if they participate in the ACP program and if they offer free ACP tablets. If the answer is no, you can proceed to the next step.
- Find another ACP participating internet company in your area by using the online tool at affordableconnectivity.gov/companies-near-me.
- Visit the link above and press ‘Search Providers’. When redirected, select your location, select the ACP program and press ‘Search’.
- The system will generate a list of all the ACP providers in your area. Note which ones offer discounts on devices. Contact each of them to ask if they can offer you a free government tablet.
- Check on the list if any of the following companies operate in your area, as these providers are known to offer high-quality free tablets from the government:
- AirTalk Wireless (see the offer and enroll at airtalkwireless.com)
- Cintex Wireless (see the offer and enroll at cintexwireless.com)
- Easy Wireless (see the offer and enroll at myeasywireless.com)
- Excess Telecom (see the offer and enroll at excesstelecom.com)
- Go Technology Management (see the offer and enroll at goknows.com)
- Maxsip Telecom (see the offer and enroll at maxsipconnects.com)
- Moolah Wireless (see the offer and enroll at moolahwireless.com)
- My Tablet ACP (see the offer and enroll at mytabletacp.com)
- NewPhone Wireless (see the offer and enroll at newphone.com)
- Q Link Wireless (see the offer and enroll at qlinkwireless.com)
- StandUp Wireless (see the offer and enroll at standupwireless.com)
- Stimulus (see the offer and enroll at stimulustabletjobs.com)
- TruConnect (see the offer and enroll at truconnect.com)
- Before you choose a company, compare their tablets and other benefits (such as how much free internet or monthly mobile data you will receive).
- Once you have chosen a suitable provider, visit its official website, find its online application form, and apply by providing all the required information and digital proof documentation. You can also contact the company’s customer support service and the representative will help you apply through the company’s application process.
- Once you submit your application, the company will review it as soon as possible and hopefully approve it promptly. If your application gets rejected, make sure to inquire about the reason and ask if you can reapply.
How to Apply for a Free Tablet From the Government if You Are Already a Lifeline Subscriber
In case you are already a Lifeline subscriber, you can reach out to your internet company directly without having to enroll through the National Verifier again.
Lifeline subscribers don’t need to apply for ACP through the National Verifier separately. Instead, you can contact your wireless Lifeline provider and ask if it also offers ACP benefits and more specifically, ACP tablets. If yes, you can simply ask the representative to apply for their ACP benefit as well.
If your provider doesn’t offer ACP tablets, you can contact another company and take both your Lifeline and ACP benefits to a new provider. Keep in mind though that you can only get Lifeline and ACP benefits from one company at a time.
On the other hand, if you are already in a low-income program with a non-Lifeline provider, you can contact the company to see if you can enroll in the ACP program. However, chances are that you will need to reapply.
What to Do If I Have Additional Questions About How to Apply for a Free Tablet From the Government
If you have additional questions about the ACP application process, you can visit the program’s official website at affordableconnectivity.gov/how-to-apply and watch a video that walks you through the process.
Moreover, you can contact the establishment by email at [email protected] or by phone at (877) 384-2575. The support center is available 7 days a week, from 9 AM to 9 PM ET.
What Kind of a Free Tablet From the Government Can I Expect to Receive After I Apply
Most ACP companies are very secretive about which tablets they offer, as the selection depends on the state, plan, and availability. However, there are some providers that reveal their selection of tablets in advance and may even enable eligible customers to choose which device they wish to receive. Such companies currently provide their ACP subscribers with the following tablet models:
- Alcatel Joy Tab
- Alcatel Joy Tab 2
- Apple iPad 3
- Apple iPad Air
- Apple iPad Air 2
- Apple iPad Mini
- Apple iPad Mini 2
- Apple iPad Mini 3
- KonnectONE Moxee Tablet
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 4
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 2018
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 2020
- Samsung Galaxy Tab E
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
- Samsung Galaxy Tabs S3
- Sky Elite T8 Plus
You can also expect to receive free or discounted internet services.
ACP Application Process News
As the ACP program has proven to be very popular among lots of people, the government is trying to cope with the pressure of providing free or discounted internet services and devices for all struggling households. As more than 17 million households participate in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, the agency recently announced that they are planning to develop “a series of enhancements to the online consumer application system”. It is currently unknown what kinds of enhancements the agency is talking about. However, the FCC has promised a more consumer-friendly approach to applying, as it is trying to reach even more people who could benefit from its support.
According to the FCC, “the enhancements are designed to reduce the time it takes to enroll by providing clear instructions, to decrease steps and to simplify language while continuing to protect against waste, fraud and abuse and guarding the integrity of the program”.
Obviously, the ACP program is here to stay, therefore, new and existing ACP customers don’t need to fret about losing their benefits.