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Low-Cost Internet for Veterans: Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) offers qualifying veterans low-cost internet access. This FCC-administered program helps low-income Americans get affordable, reliable internet service.

You may qualify for this assistance if your total household income is less than 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines. You may also qualify in cases where you or a dependent are eligible for SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, or other programs. Those who receive Lifeline benefits may also qualify,

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

The ACP provides up to $30/month for broadband service. Additionally, there is a special discount for households on qualifying Tribal lands of up to $75 per month for use towards paying for broadband internet.

The Affordable Connectivity Program grants a one-time discount of up to $100 to qualifying households for purchasing a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. These devices must be purchased through participating providers and a co-payment may apply.

Affordable Connectivity Program Eligibility

By some estimates, there are about 2.5 million Veterans eligible to participate in the ACP. To participate, a household must have income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. They must participate in certain assistance programs, such as:

  • Veterans pension
  • Survivor benefit
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Lifeline
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Food distribution programs on Indian Reservations
  • Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, which includes participation through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband carrier’s existing low-income program

To check or verify your household’s eligibility, see the ACP Benefit page. You can also go to the White House’s Get Internet siteto sign up for the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program.

To find participating internet service providers near you, check out the Affordable Connectivity Program Providers page. You can search by state or territory, and you can see which providers offer that $100 discount on connected devices.

VA Programs Keeping Veterans Connected

In addition to the FCC ACP benefit, the VA also has several programs that allow Veterans to connect to the internet. Some prominent programs are:

  • VA Internet-Connected Devices: The VA has a program that lends an internet-connected tablet to veterans who don’t have access to the internet. The intent is to facilitate access to VA Telehealth appointments.
  • VA Telehealth Connectivity Support: a program where mobile carriers help Veterans avoid data charges when using VA Video Connect on their networks.
  • ATLAS: The Accessing Telehealth through Local Area Stations (ATLAS) is a program providing telehealth access in the Veterans’ communities. Using private spaces equipped with internet access, Veterans can attend their telehealth appointments without owning a personal device or traveling to a VA clinic.
  • VA Telehealth is a program that allows veterans to access their healthcare team whenever it is necessary.

Switching to a New Internet Provider

Some may need to change service providers, and there are provisions in the ACP program that can help. According to the VA, you can transfer ACP benefits one time each month. You’ll need to find a new provider participating in ACP as not all choose to do so.

The VA notes you may need to reapply for ACP before a transfer is permitted. “If you received a discounted internet-connected device (laptop, tablet or desktop computer) through the program, you cannot receive a new discounted device, even if you change internet companies.”

Be prepared to offer the following information for the transfer request:

  • Full name, date of birth,
  • Home address, phone number
  • A written or verbal agreement to transfer your benefit

VA’s Digital Divide Consult

To discover your connectivity options, the VA recommends participating in a Digital Divide Consult. With this program, a VA social worker can assist in determining which programs you may be eligible for, including the Affordable Connectivity Program. The goal of these consultations is to give every veteran the internet and technology they need for using the VA telehealth program.




About the author

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, and blogger. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.