What is EBT?
EBT is an abbreviation that stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer. EBT is an electronic system that allows the state welfare department to issue benefits via a magnetically encoded payment card to people who are struggling to afford food. The EBT system and payment card are only available to people who participate in the government assistance program called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamps Program). EBT enables SNAP participants to buy groceries at a SNAP-authorized retail store. Whenever the customer purchases something, their SNAP EBT account gets debited to reimburse the shop for the food that was purchased. EBT is the only method of SNAP issuance in the country and it is used in all states.
SNAP is a federal assistance program designed to help low-income households pay for food. The monthly SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase any non-food items, not even supplements, medicine, or hot meals.
As EBT is used only by SNAP participants, the phrase ‘EBT program’ actually refers to the SNAP federal nutrition program.
Can I Get a Free Tablet With EBT?
As you can see above, EBT/SNAP benefits only cover food expenses and it is impossible to use your EBT credits to purchase a tablet or any other electronic device. Nevertheless, your participation in SNAP automatically qualifies you to participate in other government assistance programs, including Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program.
While Lifeline offers discounts on monthly phone, wireless and internet services and phones, the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) offers discounts on broadband services and internet-connected devices, such as tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.
As participating in SNAP/EBT automatically qualifies you for ACP and as certain (not all – the offer depends on each company) ACP providers offer discounts on tablets, you can in a non-direct way get a free tablet with EBT.
Note: According to the FCC rules no ACP company can offer you a tablet completely free of charge. Instead, you can receive a one-time discount of up to $100 and you must pay a mandatory co-pay of more than $10 and less than $50 to obtain the device.
Can I Get a T-Mobile Free Tablet With EBT?
Certain large carriers, smaller MVNOs, and other phone and wireless service providers participate in one of the above-mentioned government assistance programs (Lifeline, ACP, or both). However, not all wireless companies participate in any of these aid programs.
Well, how about T-Mobile? Does this huge carrier participate in any assistance program? It does, however it does not offer free tablets with EBT. As such, it is currently impossible to receive a T-Mobile free tablet with EBT. Nevertheless, wireless companies tend to update and upgrade their Lifeline and ACP offers regularly, as such, this may still be an option in the future. Let’s see which government benefits are offered by T-Mobile in the next section.
Which Government Benefits Does T-Mobile Offer?
T-Mobile participates in the federal Lifeline program. Under the Lifeline program, qualified customers can receive a discount on their monthly wireless telecommunications service. This discount is available in Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Puerto Rico. Eligible customers from these states can apply the Lifeline discount of up to $9.25 a month to most T-Mobile rate plans. Eligible households living in federally recognized Tribal lands may receive an additional discount of up to $25 a month.
However, it is important to note that T-Mobile is ending its participation in the Lifeline program as of December 31, 2022. After that date, T-Mobile’s customers will no longer be able to receive the Lifeline benefits. Still, T-Mobile will continue to offer Lifeline discounts indirectly through its subsidiary company Assurance Wireless.
T-Mobile doesn’t directly participate in the ACP program, however, it does offer ACP benefits indirectly through two subsidiaries – Assurance Wireless and Metro by T-Mobile.
Assurance Wireless by T-Mobile offers both Lifeline and ACP benefits. Qualifying customers can apply for a free monthly service with free unlimited data, talk minutes, and text messages, and free 10GB of mobile hotspot data. In addition, customers can receive a free Android smartphone.
Metro by T-Mobile, on the other hand, offers an ACP discount of up to $30 a month (or up to $75 a month for eligible Tribal households) on monthly internet services. This discount can be applied to any of their monthly plans, including the $30 a month plan which is free of charge after applying the $30 a month discount.
Although two T-Mobile-owned companies offer generous ACP discounts, none of them offers discounts on internet-connected devices, such as tablets.
However, it is only fair to stress that most ACP providers only offer discounts on internet services. Very few ACP companies also offer discounts on internet-connected devices. Read more about these few precious providers in the next section.
Which Companies Offer Free Tablets With EBT?
Just to remind you – all SNAP/EBT users qualify for the ACP program and all ACP subscribers can apply for any ACP company in their state of residence (as long as they are 18 years old or more or an emancipated minor and the only applicant in their household). You can see a list of all ACP providers in your area at fcc.gov/affordable-connectivity-program-providers. The ones that have a tick under ‘Offering Connected Devices’ may also offer discounts on tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.
However, to see the very best ACP companies that offer free tablets with EBT, check out the list below.
This company was formerly known as FeelSafe Wireless. However, it was recently purchased by HTH Communications (which also owns Cintex Wireless and NewPhone Wireless) and rebranded as AirTalk Wireless. The provider offers Lifeline and ACP services with free monthly talk minutes, text messages, and high-speed data. Qualifying customers can also select a AirTalk Wireless free phone (flip, Android, or iPhone) of their own choice and purchase an ACP tablet with a considerable discount.
To apply, visit airtalkwireless.com, press ‘Apply Now’, enter your ZIP code, and confirm. If the company offers its services in your area, you will be redirected to your state’s assistance offer. You will be able to choose a plan, however, make sure to choose one that enables you to purchase an ACP tablet (Lifeline & ACP Combo plan is the most valuable option). When redirected to the company’s online application, follow the prompts to fill it out.
Cintex is AirTalk’s affiliate company, as such, it offers similar benefits – a free unlimited plan with talk, text, and high-speed data, a free phone, and a discounted ACP tablet of your own choice
Sign up by visiting cintexwireless.com, pressing ‘Apply Now’, providing your ZIP code, and choosing the best plan available in your state (assuming that the company does offer benefits in your area). You will then be redirected to the provider’s online application form. Fill it out by providing all the required information and digital copies of your proof documentation. If your application gets approved, you will be notified immediately.
This is another generous Lifeline and ACP company that offers free government smartphone services with free unlimited talk and text, free unlimited data and hotspot, a free smartphone, and a one-time ACP discount on an 8-inch tablet that only costs $10.99.
Begin your application by visiting myeasywireless.com, entering your email address and ZIP code in the provided boxes above, and pressing ‘Enroll Now’. Follow the on-screen prompts until you are redirected to the company’s online application form. There, make sure to provide all the required details about yourself and your eligibility.
Just like its affiliate companies mentioned above, NewPhone also offers free monthly services with high-speed data, talk, and text, a free flip phone,smartphone per eligible applicant, and a discount from one of the most reputable brands with a large ACP discount.
Enroll by visiting newphone.com. Press ‘Apply Now’, key in your ZIP code, and tap ‘Apply Now’ once more. If the benefits are available in your area, you can then choose the plan that enables you to purchase a tablet, and proceed with the application process.
Q Link Wireless
To receive these benefits, visit qlinkwireless.com, enter your ZIP code and email address, press ‘Get it Now’, and follow the on-screen prompts.
Finally, there is StandUp Wireless, another Lifeline and ACP provider that offers ACP free tablets with EBT. It also offers a free service with unlimited talk, text, and data (10GB of high-speed data), and a free phone.
Which Tablets are Available With EBT?
Most ACP companies don’t reveal which device the customer may receive in advance, as the offer depends on the state, the customer’s eligibility, the device availability, and other factors. However, the extra generous companies, such as AirTalk and Cintex Wireless not only tell you which tablet you can expect, they even allow you to select the device you wish to receive yourself.
Most ACP providers offer mid-range Android tablets with an 8-inch screen and the latest Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities. However, companies owned by HTH Communications also offer ACP iPads.
Some of the currently available free tablets with EBT include:
- Apple iPad Mini
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 4
- Apple iPad Air
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
- Apple iPad Mini 3
- Alcatel Joy Tab 2
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 2020
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S
- Apple iPad Mini 2
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
- Samsung Galaxy Tab E
- Apple iPad 3
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 2018
- KonnectONE Moxee Tablet
- Alcatel Joy Tab
- Apple iPad Air 2
How to Get a Free Tablet With EBT?
To get a free tablet with EBT, you must follow these strict steps:
- First, you need to qualify for the EBT/SNAP program. According to the government rules, your household must meet the following criteria:
- Your household’s gross monthly income (before any of the program’s benefits are applied) must be at or below 130% of the poverty line. The poverty line depends on the household size and state.
- Your household’s net income (after the program benefits are applied must be at or below the poverty line.
- Your household’s assets must fall below some limits. The limits are: households without a member who is elderly (an elderly person is considered one that is 60 or more years old) or who has a disability must have assets of $2,500 or less, and households with such a member must have assets of $3,750 or less.
- Secondly, you must be able to prove your EBT/SNAP eligibility by providing copies of certain documents that show the criteria mentioned above.
- Thirdly, you must apply for the SNAP/EBT program. To do so, visit dtaconnect.eohhs.mass.gov. Press ‘Apply SNAP’ and then, ‘Get Started’. Fill out the application form and submit it.
- If your EBT/SNAP application gets approved, make sure to save the confirmation letter or the benefit verification letter to prove your ACP eligibility. Then, you can apply for the ACP program. You can do so through the National Verifier at nv.fcc.gov/lifeline/?id=nv_flow&ebbp=true or directly through your selected provider. Choose a provider that offers its services in your area.
Is There Any Other Way to Receive a Free Tablet?
If you can’t get a free tablet with EBT, you may still be able to get one in another way:
- If you can’t apply for EBT/SNAP, you may be able to qualify for ACP through other criteria. For example, your household income may be at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, you may participate in another qualifying assistance program, such as SSI, FPHA, Medicaid, WIC, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, or certain Tribal assistance programs, or your household may have received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year.
- You may be able to get a free tablet from a charity or non-profit organization.
- You can ask a local church, school, or library.
- Online through a giveaway, Amazon Vine, Freecycle, etc.
- From a carrier, wireless company, or retailer. They sometimes offer promotional deals on tablets. T-Mobile also often offers free or discounted tablets if you add a tablet line or switch to their services. Check T-Mobile’s deals on tablets at t mobile.com/tablets/deals/special-offer.