What is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
Affordable Connectivity Program, also known as ACP, is a new government assistance program by the FCC established to help low-income households and people in need get affordable internet access, which enables them to stay in touch with loved ones, jobs, educational resources, healthcare, and more.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is a new program. It was launched on December 31, 2021 – the same day on which ACP’s predecessor, EBB, has expired.
ACP offers two types of discounts – discounts on monthly internet service and one-time discounts on connected devices. Not all ACP providers offer both kinds of discounts. Some providers only offer discounts on monthly services.
ACP offers discounts of up to $30 a month toward broadband internet service for eligible households and up to $75 a month for eligible households on qualifying Tribal lands. The program also offers a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. However, to receive the connected device, an eligible customer must contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per eligible household.
Read more about the new ACP program at fcc.gov/acp.
Does TracFone Wireless Offer the Affordable Connectivity Program?
TracFone Wireless is an American prepaid, no-contract mobile phone provider. It is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that holds agreements with most of the largest carriers in the country, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Cellular. The company owns and offers services and products under several brands, including:
- SafeLink Wireless
- Straight Talk
- Simple Mobile
- Total Wireless
- Walmart Family Mobile
- Net10 Wireless
- Page Plus Cellular
- GoSmart Mobile
- ClearWay Wireless
Each of these brands has its own mission, goal, and is best suitable for a specific group of people. As such, not all TracFone Wireless brands offer the Affordable Connectivity Program.
Nevertheless, chances are that you can currently get ACP discounts from TracFone, SafeLink Wireless, Straight Talk, Simple Mobile, Total Wireless, and Walmart Family Mobile. However, all of these brands (except SafeLink Wireless) are yet to officially confirm their participation in the new ACP program. These brands have all offered the now-expired EBB benefits and as most former EBB providers now offer ACP discounts, it’s safe to assume that these brands will also join the new, similar program. However, so far, only SafeLink Wireless has updated its website and now officially offers ACP benefits and discounts.
Read more about SafeLink ACP at support.safelinkwireless.com/faqs/what-is-affordable-connectivity-program-acp?device=general-safelink-account-help.
Note: The list of TracFone ACP provider brands may change in the future. After all, ACP is a new program and not all service providers have had the opportunity to review the program and decide whether or not they and their customers may benefit from it.
In case you also need information Affordable Connectivity Program Boost Mobile
Is There a Difference Between TracFone Wireless EBB and TracFone Wireless ACP?
As mentioned above, so far, only one TracFone brand (SafeLink) has confirmed its participation in the new ACP program. Some other TracFone brands, including TracFone itself, have offered the former EBB benefits and have not yet confirmed whether or not they will participate in the new ACP program as well. However, as the former EBB and the ACP program offer similar benefits, it may be safe to assume that their eligible customers can apply for ACP benefits as well.
We keep mentioning the EBB program – but what is the EBB program and how is it relevant? The EBB or Emergency Broadband Benefit program was an FCC program designed to help families struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offered both monthly service discounts and device discounts. The benefit provided eligible households with a discount on monthly broadband service of up to $50 ($75 for households on qualifying Tribal lands). Eligible customers were also able to receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer from a provider by contributing more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
EBB was a temporary program established in response to the pandemic. As the program proved to be vital for millions of Americans, the government has decided to modify it and create a new, long-term ACP program, which will also help ensure that households can afford the internet they need for work, school, healthcare, and more.
The main difference between EBB and ACP is that ACP offers a slightly lower maximum monthly discount for non-Tribal households and that it has some additional eligibility criteria. As ACP is EBB’s successor, former EBB customers can easily enroll in the new ACP program.
TracFone EBB has expired on December 31, 2021. TracFone Wireless ACP, on the other hand, has not been officially confirmed yet. You can try applying at tracfone.com/ebb. If you are unable to do so, you can apply to SafeLink Wireless instead. To do so, visit support.safelinkwireless.com/faqs/what-is-affordable-connectivity-program-acp?device=general-safelink-account-help.
How to Qualify for the TracFone Wireless ACP?
To qualify for TracFone Wireless ACP or SafeLink Wireless ACP or any other ACP program, you must be ACP-eligible. As ACP eligibility criteria are determined by the FCC, they are universal for all ACP providers. A household is ACP-eligible if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
- Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
- Participates in certain assistance programs, such as:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit Fund
- Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal TANF
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Is 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.
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider's existing low-income program.
In addition, to qualify for the ACP from any provider, you must be a resident of one of the states where a provider offers its services. For example, SafeLink Wireless offers its services in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
What Documents Are Required to Apply for the TracFone Wireless ACP?
When you apply to the TracFone Wireless ACP program (or TracFone’s SafeLink ACP), the provider will try to verify your identity and confirm your eligibility automatically. In the event they fail to do so, you will be required to provide some additional documents that prove you qualify for the program.
Depending on your eligibility criteria, you may need to provide any of the following documents:
- An official document proving your participation in qualifying government assistance programs. The document must include your full legal name, the name of the program, the name of the establishment that issued the document, and an issue date within the last 12 months. Qualifying documents include: benefit award letter, approval letter, statement of benefits, or a benefit verification letter.
- An official document that shows that your annual income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The document must include your full name and your annual income. Qualifying documents include: 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, Veterans Administration statement of benefits, Unemployment or Worker’s Compensation statement of benefits, divorce decree, child support award, or a retirement/pension statement of benefits.
- An official document that verifies your identity. The document must include your full name and date of birth. Qualifying documents include: a valid government, military, state, or Tribal ID, birth certificate, U.S. driver’s license, passport, certificate of U.S. citizenship or naturalization, permanent resident card or Green Card, government assistance program document, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) document.
- An official document that verifies your address. It must include your full name and your physical address. Qualifying documents include: driver’s license, valid government, state, or Tribal ID, utility bill, mortgage or lease statement, or most recent W-2 or tax return.
To apply for the TracFone ACP program (or any other ACP program for that matter), you must be 18 or more years old or an emancipated minor. Therefore, emancipated minors will also be required to provide an official document proving their emancipated minor status, such as a court document or the certificate of emancipation.
During the online application process, you will have the chance to attach such documents. However, you also do it by mail. Make copies or take pictures of the documents using a camera, smartphone, copy machine, or scanner. Do not send dark or blurry copies and make sure to never submit original copies.
How Do I Apply for TracFone Wireless Affordable Connectivity Program?
Applying for the TracFone Wireless ACP, SafeLink ACP, or any other ACP program is simple. All you have to do is to follow the easy steps below:
- Step 1: Make sure you are ACP-eligible. See the eligibility criteria above. In addition, make sure you are a resident of one of the states where your preferred ACP provider offers its services.
- Step 2: Go to acpbenefit.org and submit an application or print out a mail-in application. Then, contact your preferred ACP provider to select a plan and have the discount applied to your bill.
Alternatively, you can also visit your preferred ACP provider’s website directly. To apply for TracFone’s SafeLink ACP, go to safelinkwireless.com/Enrollment/Safelink/en/Web/www/default/index.html#!/newHome. You can also try to apply for the TracFone Wireless ACP (even though their outdated website still offers the EBB program) by visiting tracfone.com/ebb and pressing ‘Apply now’. Regardless of the provider and application form, you will be required to provide your ZIP code, email address, personal information, and supporting documents. Once you do all that, you can submit your application.
- Step 3: Wait a couple of days for the provider to inform you if your application was successful. Afterward, enjoy your ACP benefits.
What Are the Benefits if I Am Qualified for the TracFone Wireless Affordable Connectivity Program?
Each ACP provider offers slightly different ACP benefits.
The providers that used to offer EBB benefits tend to offer similar ACP benefits. If that is an indicator, we can assume that TracFone Wireless ACP (assuming the provider will confirm its ACP participation) will offer similar benefits as it did through its EBB program:
- Free unlimited talk
- Free unlimited text
- 3 GB of unlimited carryover data
Read more about the TracFone Wireless ACP (EBB) at tracfone.com/ebb.
On the other hand, the only TracFone brand that has confirmed its ACP participation so far (SafeLink) offers the following ACP benefits for eligible customers:
- Free unlimited talk (to all U.S. states, Canada, and Mexico)
- Free unlimited text (to all U.S. states, Canada, and Mexico)
- Free unlimited data (25 GB of high-speed data)
- Up to 5 GB of hotspot data
- A free smartphone
Read more about the SafeLink ACP at safelinkwireless.com/Enrollment/Safelink/en/Web/www/default/index.html#!/newHome.
You can read one of our past articles What Phones Are Compatible With Tracfone
Does TracFone Wireless Offer a Free Tablet Under the ACP Program?
No. As mentioned before, TracFone hasn’t confirmed its participation in the new ACP program nor has the company published its ACP offer. However, as the company did not offer a free tablet under the now-expired EBB program, they will probably not do so under the new ACP program either.If you need information Free Tablet check one of our past article Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Free Tablet
How Do I Check the Status of my TracFone Wireless Affordable Connectivity Program Application?
Once your enrollment in the TracFone Wireless ACP program is complete, you will receive an email notification. However, you can also check your application status by signing into your TracFone account.
Why Choose TracFone Wireless Affordable Connectivity Program?
Even if TracFone will participate in the new ACP program, its Lifeline brand, SafeLink Wireless, offers more benefits, as you can see in the section ‘What Are the Benefits if I Am Qualified for the TracFone Wireless Affordable Connectivity Program?’. Therefore, applying for the SafeLink Wireless ACP sounds like a better idea.
If I’m a Part of the Lifeline Program, Can I Still Qualify for TracFone Wireless ACP?
Yes. Eligible households can get both Lifeline and ACP discounts. However, only one Lifeline and one ACP benefit is available per eligible household.
When Can I Apply and Enroll in the TracFone Wireless ACP?
The ACP program was launched on December 31, 2021 (the old EBB program expired on the same day). Since the ACP program was launched, you can apply at any time. Customers enrolled in the EBB as of December 31, 2021, may keep their EBB benefit for 60 days and must transition to the ACP benefit on March 1, 2022, if eligible.