AT&T free internet is available to low-income families participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Since AT&T is one of the largest telecommunication companies in America, its free internet is available to millions of eligible users nationwide. All you have to do is to meet the ACP’s stringent eligibility criteria.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the ACP to subsidise internet services for needy families. If you’re wondering how to qualify for this particular service, this article provides all the necessary details.
- AT&T Free Internet Via the Affordable Connectivity Program
- How to Qualify for Free AT&T Internet Via the ACP
- How to Apply for AT&T Free Internet
- Documents Required When Applying for AT&T Free Internet
- Benefits of AT&T Free Internet
- The Bottom Line
- You Might Also Like
- Frequently Asked Questions
AT&T Free Internet Via the Affordable Connectivity Program
AT&T provides free internet via the ACP, an FCC program launched on December 31, 2021. The ACP replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), which had operated in 2020 and 2021, to provide free or affordable internet to families that had experienced a substantial loss of income due to Covid-19.
Through the ACP, FCC provides a $30 or $75 on Tribal Lands subsidy for monthly internet for needy families. Eligible families can apply the subsidy on their internet bill and get free or subsidized internet. Families whose plans cost $30 or less can effectively pay $0 monthly for their internet.
Through the Access from AT&T program, families can enjoy free internet once the subsidy is applied. Through the program, needy families get internet speeds of up to 100Mbps. Actual speeds largely depend on a family’s area of residence.
Eligible families may also get a $100 discount to purchase a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Those who qualify for this discount must make a $10 to $50 co-payment to AT&T. Overall, there’s only one ACP discount per family year. Those who wish to continue receiving the benefits must renew their application by recertifying their eligibility.
How to Qualify for Free AT&T Internet Via the ACP
Getting free AT&T internet isn’t automatic. Instead, you must meet the stringent eligibility criteria to get it. As part of the requirements, applicants must have an annual income under 200% of poverty guidelines. Alternatively, you must participate in an eligible government assistance program. Below is a detailed review of the things you must have to qualify for free internet from AT&T:
1. Qualification Through Annual Household Income
You may get AT&T free internet if your annual household income is under 200% of poverty guidelines for the years in question. Federal poverty guidelines tend to vary based on location and time. Therefore, your location’s applicable income thresholds will likely differ from those in other locations.
For 2022, the following is a summary of the poverty guidelines and the ACP income thresholds in all states and territories across the United States:
|No. of family or household members||Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2022 (48 states and Washington DC)||ACP income thresholds (48 states and Washington DC)||Federal poverty guideline for 2022 (Hawaii)||ACP Income thresholds (Hawaii)||Federal poverty guidelines for 2022 (Alaska)||ACP Income thresholds (Alaska)|
|Each additional family/ household member||$4,720||$9,440||$5,430||$10,860||$5,900||$11,800|
From the table above, it is clear that ACP applicants’ income thresholds vary from location to location. In 48 states and Washington, DC, a four-member family requires an annual income of up to $55,500. A five-member family in the same location needs an annual income of up to $64,940. The difference between the two is $9,940, which represents the increase in income requirements for each additional family member.
In Hawaii, a four-member family requires an annual income of up to $63,840 to qualify for free internet from AT&T. A five-member family in the same state requires an annual income of up to $74,700 to get the ACP discount. That means that an additional family member in Hawaii leads to a $10,860 increase in the income threshold.
Similarly, an Alaskan needy family with four members requires an income of up to $69,380 to qualify for free internet from AT&T. A five-member family from the same state requires an income of up to $81,180 to get the ACP discount. That means that each additional family member leads to an $11,800 increase in the ACP income thresholds for Alaska.
Based on 2022 poverty guidelines, it is easier for a low-income family in Hawaii and Alaska to qualify for the ACP discount than elsewhere in the United States. The poverty guidelines in these two states are broader and can accommodate many more people.
2. Lifeline Assistance
Do you or a family member participate in Lifeline Assistance? If so, you can automatically qualify for free AT&T free internet. You do not need to apply for it afresh. Lifeline Assistance has many benefits, including a $9.25 (or $34.25 for Tribal Lands). You may get free or subsidized internet with Lifeline Assistance.
Needy families may also get a free feature phone or smartphone. Since these families qualify for the ACP automatically, they can enjoy both ACP and Lifeline discounts. That makes it possible for them to get better internet deals from providers such as AT&T.
3. Lifeline Eligible Assistance Programs
You do not have to participate in Lifeline Assistance to qualify for the ACP. Participation in any Lifeline-eligible programs is enough to give you entry into the ACP. However, you must prove participation by providing relevant program documents during the application process.
If you or a family member participates in any of the following programs, you can qualify for free internet from AT&T:
- Medicaid: If your family enjoys free medical services courtesy of Medicaid, you can qualify for an ACP discount. Medicaid is mainly for low-income families who cannot otherwise pay for medical services. All that’s required are documents proving your participation in the program. You may attach these documents to your application for AT&T free internet.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): The Federal government provides Supplemental Security Income to disabled adults and children whose incomes fall under the established thresholds. If you or a family member participates in SSI, you can attach documents proving the same.
- Federal Public Housing Assistance: Some low-income families get government subsidies for their monthly rent. These families, who would otherwise not afford to pay house rent, can provide documents proving their participation in FPHA.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): If you’re a low-income family in the SNAP program, you’ll get federal funds, which you can use to pay for food. The government provides each family with an Electronic Benefits Transfer Card (EBTC), which it uses to purchase food from any of the participating stores.
- Veterans Pension and Survivors’ Benefit: Are you a wartime veteran on a pension? Or did any of your family members serve in the armed forces and die in wartime? In either case, you’ll get government funds based on whether you are a disabled or aged veteran or your family member died in wartime.
4. Other Government Assistance Programs
Besides the Lifeline-eligible programs, you can qualify for the ACP by participating in other government assistance programs. These programs are ACP-only and won’t help you to qualify for Lifeline Assistance. They include the following:
- Federal Pell Grant: The Federal Pell Grant is a program through which the government supports needy undergraduate students with tuition and other university expenses. Qualification criteria for the Pell Grant include proving that you have low-income status. Therefore, you can apply for and get AT&T free internet using Pell Grant documents.
- Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program: The government also has a special program that supports women, infants, and children with their nutritional needs. A household may enjoy free nutrition from this particular program. If you or a loved one is part of the program, you may use it to get the ACP discount.
- School National Lunch Program (SNLP): Federal, state, and Tribal governments have various programs through which they provide free meals to schooling children. The free meals may cover breakfast or lunch. An example of such a program is the community schools feeding program by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). You may provide school or program participation documents to prove your eligibility for free internet from AT&T.
5. Tribal Assistance Programs
Did you know you can get free internet from AT&T if you live on Tribal Lands? With the $75 ACP discount, you can get high-speed internet free of charge. But, you must prove your neediness by providing documentation of benefits from Tribal assistance. There are various programs that only Tribal Lands residents can enjoy. They include the following:
- Tribal Head Start: Tribal children are disadvantaged due to the environment in which they live. That’s why the government has instituted the Tribal Head Start program to help these children have an equal footing with their counterparts elsewhere in the nation. The program provides a structured learning experience, round-trip transport, and supplementary meals. Proving your child’s participation in Tribal Head Start can help you get AT&T free internet.
- Tribal TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a program that seeks to improve welfare for low-income families to help them until they can work and support themselves. A similar program exists for Tribal Lands residents. It is called Tribal TANF. You only need to provide documentation for participating in the program to get free internet from AT&T.
- Food Distribution Program on Tribal Lands (FDPIR): The USDA also distributes free food on Tribal Lands through the FDPIR initiative. Needy families on Tribal Lands may get free food through this particular program. Benefitting from the program will help you qualify for the ACP.
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance: Tribal Lands residents get assistance from the government to help them meet their food, clothing, and shelter needs. Those who get assistance are from families that can prove that they are needy. That’s why participating in the Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance can help you and your family to get free internet from AT&T.
How to Apply for AT&T Free Internet
Having reviewed the eligibility criteria for getting free internet from AT&T, it’s critical to check if you meet any requirements. You can do so via the National Verifier website. Then, you can go ahead and apply for the ACP $30 monthly subsidy. The following are three ways in which you can submit your application:
1. Online Application
Besides checking your eligibility status on the National Verifier website, you can also fill out the application form. After verification, the website redirects you to a page with the application form. Provide all the relevant information and upload electronic copies of identity and eligibility documents. Click Submit. This method is fast, reliable, and can result in quick response or approval from AT&T. Alternatively, you could use the Lifeline Assistance website if you aren’t already a Lifeline member.
2. Application Via Snail Mail
An alternative method of submitting your application is via snail mail. It involves downloading and printing out the application form. Once it is ready, you should complete it by providing all the required information. Then attach photocopies of your identity and eligibility documents. Check that you have everything you need for the application. Send it via the following address: ACP Support Center, P. O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742
3. Application Via AT&T
AT&T has made it easier for you to apply for free internet courtesy of the ACP. First, you must visit the National Verifier website to check your eligibility. Save your National Verifier ID since you’ll need to give it to AT&T. Call 1-888-680-3063 to apply for Access by AT&T. If you already participate in Lifeline Assistance, you can get AT&T free internet automatically without applying.
Documents Required When Applying for AT&T Free Internet
Proving that you qualify for AT&T free internet goes beyond checking with the National Verifier. You must provide documents showing that you have the required income or participate in an assistance program. Collecting these documents beforehand is the best way to go about it. Here are the must-have documents for validating an ACP application:
1. Identity Documents
Attaching identity documents for the principal applicant is a must. Make sure you have at least one document with your name, Social Security Number (SSN), and DoB (date of birth). The following are some of the commonly used proof-of-identity documents:
- US or foreign passport
- birth certificate
- Valid driver’s license
- Certificate of citizenship or naturalization for immigrants
- A federal, state, military, or Tribal ID
2. Income-Eligibility Documents
One surest way to qualify for AT&T free internet is by having an income below 200% of poverty guidelines. After verifying your eligibility, you must attach documents proving it. Of course, the documents depend on your income source.
Essentially, the document should contain your name and income. You must attach enough documents showing your annual income where you earn monthly income. You may attach various family members’ documents to prove your household’s total annual income.
The following are some of the commonly used proof-of-income documents:
- The previous year’s Federal, state, or Tribal tax returns
- statement of benefit for Social Security, Worker’s Compensation, Veterans Administration, or pension
- 12-month paycheck stubs
- divorce decree or child support award
- any document proving annual 6household income
3. Documentation of Participation in Government Assistance
Many needy families have no income to write home about. These families mostly live off government assistance programs for food, clothing, and shelter. Thus, they can demonstrate their eligibility for AT&T free internet by providing documents of participation in at least one government assistance program.
Attaching relevant documents is necessary when several family members benefit from different assistance programs. Eligible documents should contain the beneficiary’s name and the name of the assistance program. The document shouldn’t be expired but is expected to last sometime within the next 12 months. The following are some of the documents to attach to prove the benefit of an assistance program:
- Program approval letter
- Program verification letter
- Benefits award letter
- Program statement of benefits
- Children’s school documentation
4. Additional Documents
You must provide many other documents to get free internet from AT&T. You must provide and prove your shipping address. Documents for doing that include utility bills, bank statements, or government assistance programs. Besides your name, the documents should contain the shipping address you filled out in the application form.
You now understand that AT&T’s free internet is mainly for adults. However, minors can also apply for it if they are emancipated. In that case, they must attach a certificate of emancipation or court order.
Benefits of AT&T Free Internet
The AT&T free internet comes with many benefits. Besides being free of charge, it avails internet speeds of up to 100Mbps. The Access by AT&T is a no-contract arrangement with no installation fees. It also comes with reliable in-home Wi-Fi for you and your family. Here is a summary of the benefits of free internet from AT&T:
- Internet speed of up to 100Mbps
- No annual contract
- In-home Wi-Fi
- No installation fees
The Bottom Line
Getting AT&T free internet is easy since it requires you to qualify for the ACP program. You must have an income below 200% of poverty guidelines or benefit from a government assistance program. Checking your eligibility via the National Verifier is the first step before submitting your application. You may apply for the free internet by calling AT&T or filling out an online application on the National Verifier or Lifeline Assistance websites. It’s also possible to send your application via snail mail.
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