Michigan internet billing help: Who qualifies and how to register?

Low-income families in Michigan can qualify for financial assistance to connect to a high-speed Internet.

The Michigan Public Service Commission said this week that a new $14.2 billion federal program for affordable calling could help eligible state residents with their monthly internet bills. Participants can get $30 off their monthly bill, while those who live in eligible tribal lands can get a $75 monthly bill reduction.

The FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is designed to succeed the agency’s previous Emergency Broadband Benefits Program (EBB) that was launched as part of last year’s federal stimulus legislation that expires March 1. He struggled to afford the Internet, but the program stopped accepting new applicants by the end of the year.

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FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworsel said this week that more than 10 million households across the country have already enrolled in the new ACP, which is funded through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“No family should have to choose between paying for gas or groceries and a monthly internet bill, especially when connectivity is essential to work, school, healthcare, and more. But for many, the cost of internet service makes the connections we need for everyday life out of reach.”

One new ACP deduction is allowed per eligible household.

Families are eligible if the person living there meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • Income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines ($36,620 for two people, $55,000 for a family of four, for example)
  • Participate in a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), WIC, Lifeline, or a broadband benefit.
  • Participate in a tribal program such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Public Assistance, Temporary Tribal Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), or the Tribal Reserve Food Distribution Program.
  • Received a Federal Pell Scholarship during the current award year
  • Meets the eligibility requirements for the participating broadband provider’s current low income program.

There are several ways to register for the program.

Most EBB participants who registered by the end of last year will automatically be enrolled in the new ACP and will not have to take additional steps to obtain benefits. However, the monthly interest will drop from $50 to $30, although the monthly pre-advantage remains $75.

Automatic enrollment in the ACP will not apply to those who have received an EBB due to a temporary job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic or who have been in the COVID-19 program. Those participants were supposed to be informed in January by their broadband provider of the steps they must take to reconfirm their eligibility before March 1.

Anyone unsure of their eligible status should contact their broadband provider to ask about the ACP benefit after March 1 and any need to reapply.

Those who will be new participants in the ACP can apply several different methods:

  • Go to the ACP website at www.fcc.gov/acp and apply online.
  • Print an application from this site with a home worksheet. Fill out both and mail them to the ACP Support Centre, PO Box 7081, London, KY 40742.
  • Contact your Internet company to request an ACP inquiry, find a participating provider using the FCC List of Michigan ACP Providers.

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