When you’re already living paycheck to paycheck, the additional cost of Wi-Fi and an internet connection may be too much for your budget. This can cause real problems, especially because so much of daily life is completed online:
The good news is you may get access to this essential tool if you qualify for food stamps. Naturally, you may wonder, “Can I get free internet if I get SNAP/food stamp benefits?” Below is the answer to that question and other questions you may have.
Popularly referred to as food stamps, the official name of the federal food assistance program was changed to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in October 2008. The purpose of SNAP benefits is to ensure families have a strong enough food budget to purchase healthy food while supporting a move toward self-sufficiency. Today, SNAP benefits are delivered through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that looks and works like a debit card.
Although this is a federal program, eligibility is determined by each state and is based on the number of people in your household, your combined assets, your gross income, and your employment status. The contact information for your state department can be found online. If you can’t find it right away, start with the SNAP state directory. If you can’t get online at home, visit your local library to complete your application. Once you qualify for SNAP, you may also be eligible for a variety of other assistance programs, such as heating assistance and free internet service.
This question is particularly relevant to those who grew up without the use of the internet. It can be hard to understand why internet access is so vital. The question, “How do I get internet with SNAP benefits?” may not even cross your mind if you fall into this category. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that modern employers, utility companies, government agencies, and other professionals expect you to have the ability to go online to communicate, make payments, and receive important information. Internet access isn’t a luxury anymore; it is a necessity.
One of the tenets of the food assistance program is helping families become more self-sufficient. It should go without saying that access to SNAP benefits leads to improved nutrition for the entire family. Better health can result in more energy and higher grades for students. Access to consistent internet can help you apply for and obtain employment. All of this supports a move toward food security and financial stability for you and your dependents.
If you qualify for SNAP benefits, you will receive specific information about the eligibility period, when you should reapply, and what factors may affect your continued eligibility. After time passes and if changes happen in your life, you won’t necessarily stop receiving benefits. Instead, you’ll re-evaluate your eligibility. If your financial situation makes you eligible for the program, you should be able to continue to receive access to this and other programs.
Since 1987, the Federal Communications Commission has offered a program for low-income consumers, who qualify by receiving food stamps, to receive free or substantially reduced-cost communication services. Initially, the program focused on access to a phone at home, but over time it has come to include wireless phones and free internet service.
The program is funded by the federal government and contributions from telecommunications companies to the Universal Service Fund and is administered through the Universal Service Administrative Company. The resulting Lifeline benefits are available to qualifying consumers with an income of 135% or less* than the federal poverty level and those who participate in SNAP and other federal programs, such as Medicaid.
In addition to Lifeline, you may also qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Once you qualify for SNAP, SSI, federal public housing assistance, and similar programs, you may also qualify for ACP. This temporary program increases your choice of service providers with additional discounts and packages.
The short answer is you may be eligible to receive internet service when you qualify for other assistance programs such as SNAP. Simply ask, “How Do I Get Internet With SNAP Benefits?” If you don’t know how to receive help through your state government, reach out to enTouch Wireless today to learn more.