The digitalization of healthcare and educational services has already begun. But, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the rate of change. And, that has caused inconvenience to many households struggling to keep up with this change.
Internet connection has now also become essential for employment possibilities in many sectors. So, you might need one now more than you have ever needed. And, that is where the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program can come to your aid.
The Federal Communications Commission has introduced the EBB program as a temporary initiative. It is aimed to provide internet connections and wireless services to households who need them.
But, there are some eligibility criteria to apply for this program as we shall see. Read to know all the essential details about the Straight Talk EBB program.
How does the EBB Program Work?
The federal government of the USA has teamed up with Straight Talk to bring the EBB program to you. As a wireless network provider known throughout the country, Straight talk will provide the services to eligible households. This will allow the beneficiaries to access healthcare and educational services. Apart from that, they can access various employment opportunities through this program as well.
What Benefits do Eligible Households Get?
The benefits that the EBB program provides might sometimes differ based on where you live. Beneficiaries will usually receive free wireless internet plans. And, these plans would mainly include unlimited data and text messaging services.
Depending on where you live, you might also get some more benefits in addition to that. The providers will inform you about the benefits you are eligible for when applying.
Straight Talk EBB Program: Who is Eligible to Apply?
An applicant must not fulfil all of the criteria to apply for the EBB program. All they need to do is fulfill at least one of them. So, you can apply for this program if you meet any of the following criteria:
- Your family income has fallen since February 2020 due to company lay-off or unemployment. Also, the total income should not exceed $99,000 for single taxpayers. As for married taxpayers, the total income should not exceed $198,000.
- You have received a Federal Pell Grant in the ongoing year.
- You qualify for the federal Lifeline program.
- You qualify for the free and reduced-price lunch program.
- You qualify for the participating provider’s low-income or COVId-19 program.
- One of your family members is a beneficiary of SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans and Survivors Pension, or Supplemental Security Income.
- You are a member of Tribal Specific Programs, and this can include the Bureau of Indian Affairs and General Assistance, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or Tribal Head Start.
Restrictions that Apply to the Straight Talk EBB Program
Do you find yourself eligible for the EBB program? Then, you must also keep in mind some restrictions on it. So, you must check whether they apply in your case.
Here are all the restrictions that FCC has put on the EBB program:
- You cannot benefit from this program if another person from your household already does. In other words, it is meant only for one person per household.
- You must either qualify for one of the government programs mentioned earlier or have a low household income. The EBB program is not available to you in any other circumstances.
- You might often become ineligible for the program while benefiting from it. In such cases, you must notify the service provider within 30 days.
How do You Apply for the Straight Talk EBB Program?
You must make sure to check your qualification for this program before applying for it. If you are eligible, you simply need to fill out the online application form. You can find this online form at the official EBB program registration website.
Also, you must attach your requirements apart from filling in the necessary information. You would also need to provide the following documents depending on which one applies to your case:
Did your income become non-existential because you were laid off from the company? Then, you must provide the termination documents to apply for the program. You must also include tax returns or official financial documents to show your total income.
Income Proof Documentation
Is your household income less than 135% of the financial poverty guidelines? Then, you must provide the necessary documentation to prove that. And, that can include your tax returns, among others that can verify your household income.
Proof of Membership in Federal Assistance Programs
Do you benefit from federal Public Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, Veterans and Survivors pension program, and SSI? Then, you must include documentation to prove the same. And, that can include a membership letter, an ID card or any other type of official documentation. The same applies in case you are a beneficiary of Tribal specific programs.
Emancipated Minor Status Proof
Emancipated minors can also apply for the Straight Talk EBB program. But, they would have to provide proof of their ‘emancipated minor’ status. You can use documents showing your full name for this purpose. Court documents and certificates that prove the ‘emancipated minor’ status are also useful for the application.
Benefits You Receive from the EBB Program
As mentioned earlier, the program can offer you free WiFi and internet services. But, those are not the only benefits you can receive. The provider might also offer you some additional benefits depending on your location.
You would get them for a limited period only. You must also attach your special requirements if you have any along with your application.
Keep Checking Your Application Status
You can usually see the results of your application right after filling in the required information. But, you can check your status later on as well from getemergencybroadband.org and broadbandbenefits.com. The provider might also sometimes ask you for more documentation to complete the application.