The Coronavirus 2019 has significantly impacted the global economy and has led to various companies transitioning into work-from-home settings. The restricted opportunities have brought a rise in unemployment and income loss in families across the world. Several households have no means to cater to the sudden digital shift – which resulted in various support programs to help them sustain themselves. One of the measures devised by the USA administration is the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.
What Is The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is an initiative of the American government under the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021. This law focuses on providing a connectivity fund of $3.2 billion allocated to help citizens alleviate the harmful effects of the pandemic. Led by the Federal Communications Commission, it aims to help eligible American families stay connected during the COVID-19 situation.
Under the EBB program, low-income families can avail themselves of internet services discounts of up to $50 monthly. This deduction can increase up to $75 per month if the household member belongs to one of the tribal-specific programs. A one-time discount worth $100 is included when purchasing a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet.
Take note that only one person per household can avail of the offers of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. They should comply or fall under the specific qualifications set by the service provider of their choice depending on the guidelines of the Federal Communications Commission.
Does Tracfone Participate In Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
Tracfone is America’s leading prepaid wireless provider known for low-cost cell phone plans. They also offer the Tracfone Emergency Broadband Benefit to give qualified customers access to various job and educational opportunities, healthcare services, and global connectivity.
How Does Tracfone Work With The EBB Program?
Under the government’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, Tracfone provides consumers with a one-time discount when purchasing a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. They also offer a monthly decrease in prepaid services for the customers and directly receive compensation from the government.
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What Are The Advantages Of I Am Qualified For The Tracfone Emergency Broadband Benefit?
If you qualify for the Tracfone Emergency Broadband Benefit, you can enjoy the following services:
- $50 monthly discount on broadband services
- $75 decrease in internet prices for Tribal-specific households
- One-time discount of up to $100 for purchasing a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet
- Avail an EBB free tablet for customers who pay more than $10 and less than $50 toward the original price
How Do I Qualify For The TracFone Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
Before looking at the qualifications for the EBB program, it is essential to take note that only one person per household is eligible to apply for its benefits. There is only one exception to this rule, and that is if multiple households are living at the same address. Two families can be a beneficiary of the EBB services as long as they can prove that they are different households co-existing in the same house.
There is a general list of criteria when applying to any service prepaid provider’s EBB services. However, some carriers offer another Covid-19 relief package, which includes additional qualification rules. Here are some required qualifications to be considered under the Tracfone Emergency Broadband Benefit Program:
- You can avail of the EBBP if your family has a total household income that falls at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- If you or your family member received the Federal Pell Grant in the current year, which is financial aid for undergraduate students which does not need to be returned
- If any household member receives the support of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, Public Housing Assistance, or an associate of the Veterans and Survivors Pension program
- Qualifies for one of the FCC-approved service providers offering pandemic support or low-income services
- Substantial losses in income due to being terminated or laid-off from employment posts since February 29, 2020, AND should have a gross household income of $99,000 or below for single taxpayers or $198,000 for a couple or married joint filers
- If you or a family member is benefitting from free or discounted academic breakfast/lunch services in the years 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 under the USDA Community Eligibility Provision
There are additional criteria for interested applicants in select states which cater to Tribal programs, such as those belonging in:
- Tribally-administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Head Start (only for the members with income qualifying standards)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
Additionally, if you or a family member is a recipient of the Lifeline program, you are entirely eligible to apply to Tracfone’s EBB benefits.
What Documents Are Required When I Apply For Tracfone EBB Program?
Different documents and requirements are needed when applying for the Tracfone Emergency Broadband Benefit services. They vary according to what criteria your household falls under. Here are their specifics:
- Income proof documentation such as tax returns is needed for households with 135% or below total revenue based on the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- If you are terminated or laid-off work, provide a copy of termination letters, dissolution documents, or any proof of your unemployment notice. Also attach papers containing your total income, including any tax return documents that show your finances.
- For those under Federal Assistance programs, including the Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, Public Housing Assistance, or an associate of the Veterans and Survivors Pension program, a document showing proof of membership is required.
- If your household member is a part of the Lifeline Service of the FCC, no further documentation is needed. The Lifeline Program is another support initiative to make communications and connections pocket-friendly. Being a part of this specific program makes you automatically qualify to apply as an EBB beneficiary.
- Emancipated minors should be at least eighteen years old and should provide court documents or certifications proving emancipation.
- Recipients of the Tribal Specific Programs (such as the Tribal Head Start, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, Tribally-administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance) only need to present member IDs or other proof of memberships such as letters.
How Do I Apply For The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
There are three ways provided by the FCC when applying for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.
- Contact a partner EBB service provider and directly apply to the site of application.
- Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org for the online application and to locate partner providers in the vicinity.
- Contact 833-511-0311 for mail application and print an application copy which you will then return together with your documentation proof.
To avail of the services of the Tracfone Emergency Broadband Program, fill up the form starting with the zip code, mobile number, and email address.
How Do I Know If I Am Eligible For The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
You are eligible for the Tracfone Emergency Broadband program if you belong to any of these categories:
- Have a household income of 135% or below based on the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- Receiver of benefits under the Lifeline program or any government-affiliated services involved in low-income or COVID-19 aid
- Member of EBB-supported programs including SNAP, Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, Public Housing Assistance, or a beneficiary of the Veterans and Survivors Pension program
- Federal Pell Grant receiver in the current year applied
- Member of Tribal Specific Programs, particularly Head Start, Food Distribution Program on Indian reservations, or Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Receives the benefits of free or discounted academic meal programs in the school year 2019 to 2020, and 2020 to 2021
- Income and Financial decrease due to unemployment and industrial lay-off AND with a total income of at or under $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 on joint filers
Is It Possible To Check The Status Of My Application?
Yes, it is possible to track your application status. If there is no immediate update on the application process, you can follow it on getemergencybroadband.org or broadbandbenefits.com.
Can I Receive The EBB If My Household Is Already Receiving Lifeline Benefits?
Absolutely! You can avail both the Emergency Broadband Application program and Lifeline program in one household. This is because they are two different programs, and being a member of the Lifeline services makes you automatically eligible to apply to the EBBP.
If I Qualify For Emergency Broadband Benefit On Tracfone, Will I Get Safelink Emergency Broadband Benefit?
Yes, once you are a recipient of the Tracfone Emergency Broadband Benefit, you are eligible for the Safelink EBBP. The Safelink EBBP is a part of the wider initiative of the federal government. You can apply to the Safeline Emergency Broadband Benefit here.
Is There Any Restriction For Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
The Tracfone Emergency Broadband Benefit Program has several restrictions that should be followed strictly by the customer to avoid termination and legal issues. These are:
- One person per household only
- Members of tribal specific programs located in chosen states
- For people who are members of different low-income of COVID-19 relief, as well as government programs such as SSI, SNAP, Medicaid, or the Veterans and Survivors program
- With a total household income of at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- Receives free or discounted school meals in the school years 2019 to 2020, and 2020 to 2021
Which Other Broadband Providers Are Participating In The Emergency Broadband Facility?
Here are some of the other broadband services providers aside from Tracfone:
- Boost Mobile
- T-Mobile USA
- Straight Talk
- Etheric Network
You can find the complete list of participating EBB providers on the FCC website.
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What Will Happen After the EBB Ends?
Once the EBB Program has ended, your service provider will offer you a choice of not terminating your contract. However, you will need to pay for the entirety of the services and lose the EBB discount and monthly free internet. Some will offer packages that will suit your budget and needs.
If I am Affected By The Covid-19 Pandemic And Lost My Job, Am I Eligible For The EBB Program?
Absolutely! If you’re someone who has lost your employment due to pandemic limitations, you can qualify for the EBB benefits. Just fill out the form, pass the necessary proof showing your termination, and wait for the approval notice.
Can two or household members avail of the Emergency Broadband Benefits?
No, the Emergency Broadband Benefit program has a strict ONE PER HOUSEHOLD policy. This means that only one family member is entitled to avail of the benefits of the FCC-managed service. However, there are certain exceptions. This includes a situation where two families are residing in one place, such as condo units, compounds, and apartment complexes. As long as there is proof of being members of different families while living at the same address, you can avail of the EBB discounts and promos.
What Happens If I Leave Tracfone? Is it possible to avail of another EBB service from a different provider?
If you decide to leave Tracfone, it is possible to switch to a new service provider as long as they participate in the Emergency Broadband Program initiative. Some providers offer you the option of keeping your phone numbers or entirely availing of a brand new phone.
How Long Will The Tracfone Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Last?
The American government established the EBBP initiative in May 2021. The Tracfone Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will last the same as other EBBP. This initiative will end once the allocated budget worth $3.2 billion is depleted. The program will also be terminated six months after the Department of Health, and Human Services announced that the global pandemic outbreak is overcome.
Once the EBBP has reached its end, your service provider will immediately contact you and will offer you other alternatives without the benefits of the COVID-19 low-income program.
Does Tracfone Offer Free Tablet Or Laptop Or Phone Under Ebb Program?
Tracfone Emergency Broadband Benefit functions the same as other EBBP. This means that you can get a free tablet as long as you pay $10 to $50 of the original tablet price. When you qualify for the $100 discount, it is possible that you can get a free high-performance tablet or other options based on your specific needs.