These are some commonly asked questions about the Affordable Connectivity Program for community organizations and trusted institutions working to help households navigate the Affordable Connectivity Program.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) helps families connect to the Internet from home by providing a monthly benefit to help pay for an internet service plan. The ACP is a long-term $14 billion program of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The ACP began December 31, 2021, replacing the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) (a temporary program tied to the pandemic).
A discount of up to $30 a month for broadband service ($75 for households on Tribal lands), as well as a one-time discount of $100, with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50, toward the purchase of a connected device (laptop, desktop or tablet) through a participating provider.
Can a household receive more than one discount? The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and a one-time connected device discount per eligible household.
A household is a group of people, even if they are not related, who live together and share money (income and expenses). If the individuals live together but do not share money, they are considered as more than one household.
If you are unsure about your number of households, use the Household Worksheet: English, Spanish, Instructions.
The ACP will continue until funds run out. There are currently enough funds to support the program for an estimated five years from when the program began in December 2021 (this estimate is prior to the add of additional funding). The ACP is therefore considered a long-term benefit.
There are three options to enroll:
1. Online at AffordableConnectivity.gov (National Verifier)
2. Mail in an application (English or Spanish) and return it along with proof of eligibility to: ACP Support Center, P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742
3. Contact a participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process. For a full list of participating providers see: acpbenefit.org/companies-near-me/.
(Note only certain providers have been approved by the FCC to use an alternate application process and to enroll households directly, so most will need to apply via the National Verifier).
A member of a household only has to meet one of the criteria, such as income at 200% of the federal poverty level, or at least one member of the household participates in a government assistance program, such as Medicaid or SNAP, or through a dependent who is on free and reduced lunch or who attends a school that participates in the Community Eligibility Provision. For more information see ACP Eligibility Qualifications and visit GetACP.org to learn how you qualify and what documents you need to apply.
Participation in Lifeline
Participation in one of the following government assistance programs:
Participation in Free and Reduced Price School Meal program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)
Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current academic year
Tribal specific programs:
200% of the 2023 federal poverty level for all states except Alaska and Hawaii:
Source: ASPE. See here for Alaska and Hawaii, or here for 5+ households.
The household may have to provide documents to demonstrate eligibility depending on the criterion they choose during the application process. Acceptable documents to show income include:
Acceptable documents to show participation in a qualifying government program include:
Visit GetACP.org to learn how you qualify and what documents you need to apply.
If the household is qualifying through a dependent, for instance, if the student participates in the free or reduced lunch or breakfast program, or if their school participates in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), the family will need to provide documentation showing the student’s enrollment in the qualifying year, such as a report card or an official school document that states the school name, student’s name, and school year. Districts may want to prepare a letter for families confirming their student’s participation in a qualifying program (CEP Letter Template | Free and Reduced-Price Meal Program Letter Template).
It depends. If an applicant is paid in cash but has an ITIN, they can use that to verify their identity. Otherwise, the best route to take would be to qualify under one of the other criteria. For instance, if the participant is enrolled in one of the federal programs (i.e. SNAP or Medicaid), we recommend the applicant qualify using that. Another option would be to apply through someone else in the household who qualifies, such as a student who attends a CEP school.
Generally, undocumented immigrants (including DACA holders), are not eligible to receive federal public benefits. However, ACP does not take into account one’s immigration status, meaning undocumented immigrants can receive this benefit.
Only immigrants with lawful permanent resident (LPR) status may apply for federal benefit programs, but not until they have resided as a legal resident for five years, also known as the “five-year bar”. Certain categories of immigrants- specifically Cuban/Haitian/and certain Amerasian immigrants, refugees, people granted asylum or withholding of deportation/removal, and victims of human trafficking or domestic violence- are exempt from the five-year bar and have the same eligibility requirements for federal benefits as LPRs. Individuals on non-immigrant and temporary visa holders are ineligible for benefits. However, ACP does not abide by the five-year bar; if you qualify, you may apply. (source 1, source 2)
All American citizen children, regardless of their parents citizenship status, can receive federal benefits if they meet eligibility requirements without penalty. However, the child’s eligibility does not change their parents’ or any other family members’ (in)eligibility for that benefit. If a mixed-status family only has underage children, the application will still have to be completed by the parent. (source)
If the applicant has an underage child, regardless of immigration status of that child, enrolled in Free or Reduced Lunch or attends a CEP (Community Eligibility Provision) school, the household may qualify through that child.
If the applicant has an adult dependent who is a U.S. citizen, the dependent must qualify through the same eligibility requirements of ACP. Remind applicants that, if the dependent receives a Federal Pell Grant, this would qualify their dependent for the ACP. Unfortunately, undocumented dependents above the age of 18 face the same barriers as the original applicant.
Yes, as long is it includes the following information:
The household will need to reapply using another method to qualify. If they have another dependent who attends a CEP school or participates in the free-and-reduced meal program, the household can apply with this dependent’s information.
If the dependent moves on to attend a post-secondary school (college or university) and receives a Pell Grant, then they may use their award letter to prove continued eligibility to receive the benefit.
The household will need to reapply if the way they were eligible was through a dependent. If the dependent is still attending a CEP school or is eligible for the free and reduced-price meal program at another school, then they will need to reapply and show their child is receiving that benefit at the new school.
A member of a household only has to meet one of the criteria, such as income at 200% of the federal poverty level, participation in a government assistance program, such as Medicaid or SNAP, or through a dependent who is on free and reduced lunch or who attends a school that participates in the Community Eligibility Provision. For more information see ACP Eligibility Qualifications.
The household should apply using the information of their youngest school-aged child / dependent as this will ensure they are eligible through the free and reduced meal program or the CEP for the longest period of time.
Households may need to have some sort of documentation - the last four digits of a social security number is generally easiest and fastest but other forms of identity such as a driver’s license are fine.
If they decide to qualify through their student or dependent, the applicant will also need to provide identification for their student/dependent, such as the last four digits of their Social Security number. Examples of documents are below. For more information, see here.
Households can visit GetACP.org to learn how they qualify and what documents they will need to apply.
The USAC website does not specify that the identification documents must be from the US. Through ESH’s enrollment support, we have seen that foreign passports and IDs are eligible, but they must be current and up-to-date. Specifically, applicants may use their consular ID or foreign passport number in the application. (source)
The various documents that can fulfill the ACP’s identity verification requirement for applicants who are undocumented are: Driver’s License, Passport, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), Visa, Consular ID, or other Government ID.
Other U.S. Government ID: For applicants who cannot drive, they may have a state or municipal ID if offered in their area.
To qualify through an underage (below 18) dependent:
To qualify through an adult (18 and above) dependent:
To qualify through an underage (below 18) dependent:
Undocumented dependents above the age of 18 face the same barriers as the applicant and may use the other troubleshooting steps if they wish to apply.
Accents, cedillas, or other diacritics should not be included when applying to the ACP. This can create an error message in the system.
If an applicant’s name on their application does not match the name on their form of identification (such as only listing one last name, using a nickname, or not including your middle name or second last name), they may continue to be rejected by the FCC. We recommend that the applicant use a different email address and redo their application with their full name.
Eligible households are able to sign-up for any internet service plan provided by a participating Internet service provider, including those that they may already be participating in. Households can search for participating providers using the FCC search tool.
To find providers and plans that serve the household’s address, they can visit GetACP.org.
Credit checks are prohibited as a condition of household participation in a service plan. Service providers are also prohibited from up or down-selling customers on any plans. They also cannot conduct a credit check or make consumers sign a contract. (source)
Eligible households cannot be excluded based on prior debt with a participating provider. However, if families have non-payment for 90 days (from the bills’ due date(s) after enrolling and participating in ACP), the family can be de-enrolled as long as the Internet service provider gives notice after 30 and 60 days. Re-enrollment with the same service provider after de-enrollment is up to the service provider. (source)
No. It cannot be applied to cable, data overage charges, or other non-Internet products or equipment. However, the ACP can be applied to a bundled plan that includes for example, cable and phone. In this situation the ACP benefit would be applied to the internet portion of the plan.
Consumers can change to a different participating provider at any time. They are not locked into the company that they first enrolled with. However, the device discount can only be used once per eligible household, even if the household changes providers. (source)
Yes! As the ACP can be applied to any plan, the consumer can choose whichever plan they wish to apply the benefit. If they qualify for the ACP, they complete the online application, receive approval, and then contact their existing provider to apply their ACP benefit.
In many instances the ACP benefit will be applied to the household’s first or next bill, especially if they connect with the ISP before the 15th of the month. However, it’s important to note that it can take as long as 90 days for the benefit to be reflected on the bill and every internet provider is different. It is recommended that during the initial conversation with the internet provider, the applicant clarifies when they will see the benefit applied.
If the applicant would like to apply their benefit to existing service and they are not currently listed on the internet account, determine whether the account holder could instead apply for the household’s ACP benefit. If this is not an option, the applicant should contact the internet provider, preferably before beginning the ACP application, to be added to the account.
Yes. Once an account is created (the applicant creates a username and password), the applicant can save the application and then log back into their account. We recommend using the Enrollment Assistance Handbill so the applicant can write down their login information to have handy later.
The username may have already been used by another applicant and this does not necessarily mean that someone has applied in their name. Have the applicant try to create a different username.
Families can choose to find a plan that supports mobile internet. By using the Companies Near Me Tool, families can search for providers listed as “ACP Mobile.”
Ask if there is a family member or someone else available that can help them walk through the process together. If possible, assist the applicant with their enrollment in-person. Another option is to provide a paper application (English, Spanish) to the applicant which they can complete and mail along with supporting documentation to:
ACP Support Center
PO Box 7081
London, KY 40742
Ask if another family member has an email account that can be used. If this is not possible, ask for follow-up information and we can both provide this how-to but also walk them through setting up an email account.
This system error occurs in certain states, such as California. Try to refresh the server, or click out of the tab to start over.
Taxes and fees are part of the amount charged to a consumer so they are included in the ACP reimbursement, instead of consumers receiving small bills for taxes and fees alone. Therefore, the household should be sure to clarify if there will be any remaining portion they are responsible for, if the cost is hovering around the $30 price point (or $75 for the Enhanced Tribal Benefit). If the family chooses an internet service plan that is more than their ACP monthly benefit of $30 (they will be responsible for the difference). For example, if the service plan is $60 per month, the ACP will cover $30 (for non-Tribal benefit applicants), and the consumer would be responsible for the rest.
Credit checks are prohibited as a condition of household participation in a service plan. Service providers are also prohibited from up or down-selling customers on any plans. They also cannot conduct a credit check or make them sign a contract. (source)
No - the benefit is not a direct-to-consumer benefit. It is a discount off the monthly service bill and/or device. The internet service provider will receive reimbursement directly from the FCC program.
If families have any questions or need assistance, they can contact the ACP Support Center of the Universal Service Administrative Co, who administers the ACP on behalf of the FCC via:
Additionally they can learn more and access a live chat at GetACP.org
Online at https://affordableconnectivity.gov/
If a household moves and obtains a new address, they do not need to reapply for the ACP benefit. You can update this information in your National Verifier account. You can still use your account number to update your ISP or move to a new ISP.
No. Applying for ACP or receiving ACP benefits will not jeopardize anyone’s ability to obtain a green card or sponsor a family member under the public charge test, as it is not considered in the test. (source)
The FCC recognizes that more than one economic household can reside at the same address, such as shelters for unhoused individuals. Unhoused individuals may therefore enroll using the address of the shelter they reside (source). They may need to submit a household worksheet to specify that they do not share income with someone already enrolled in ACP within the shelter.
From a phone call on 4/19 with the ACP Support Line, we were also informed unhoused individuals may list ‘123 Homeless’ as their address on the enrollment form.
Yes! In fact, qualifying for Lifeline makes you automatically eligible for the ACP. You can use both benefits with the same service provider, or use the benefits with different service providers.(source)