Lifeline Helps Low-Income Americans Get Internet Broadband

Lifeline will pay $9.25 toward Your Monthly Internet Bill

The Lifeline program has been helping tens of millions low-income Americans afford basic phone services since 1985.

Established by Ronald Reagan Administration and managed by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) the Lifeline is also known as the Phone Bill Assistance program.

The purpose of Lifeline has always been to ensure that all Americans have access to phone service, thus enabling them to search for jobs, call for healthcare and emergency services when needed, and connect to family and friends.

But the way Americans are communicating and connecting is changing. More individuals and households are using smartphones and Internet to reach the services they need or keep in touch with family and friends.

The FCC recognized the change and launched a Low-Income Broadband Pilot Program to figure out how to structure Lifeline best to include financial help for Internet broadband access to all qualifying consumers.

As a result, the FCC decided to expand Lifeline program to include Internet bill assistance. The Internet bill assistance will help low-income Americans connect to Internet broadband services that can offer at least 10 megabits per second download speed.

The Federal financial support to qualifying consumers is set at $9.25 per month. This will help millions underprivileged individuals and families to lower their monthly communication bills.

The modernized Lifeline offers all qualifying low-income American consumers to apply the $9.25 financial support at their choice to:

  • Stand-alone mobile service,
  • Fixed broad band service, or
  • Bundled voice and data service packages

Total Lifeline budget is set at $2,25 billion, an 80% increase of the current spending. With such a budget, FCC expects increased participation in Lifeline marketplace from both sides – communication providers and qualifying low-income consumers.

FCC Lifeline program allows States to have their own Lifeline subsidies and requires providers to get permission from the State they operate in to receive the financial subsidy.

Sources: FCC

 

SNAP – Food Purchasing and Delivery Pilot

Food Purchasing and Delivery Services for the Elderly or Disabled

The USDA is seeking applicants to participate in a yearlong nationwide special SNAP Food Purchasing and Delivery pilot program. The goal of the program is to help federal government improve grocery access for elderly and disabled individuals who are participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP).

Currently, more than 45 million low-income Americans are supplementing their monthly food budget with food stamps. The food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, are offered by the U.S. Federal Government to any individual or household that is determined eligible.

In other words, food stamps are considered as an entitlement. Anyone who might be eligible should apply. According to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) statistics, one in five (20%) of the food stamps recipients is either elderly or disabled person. But only 41% of all eligible elderly individuals actually applied and are getting SNAP benefits, in comparison to 85% of all individuals who are eligible.

The SNAP Food Purchasing and Delivery Pilot will be expanding the access to the SNAP benefits by offering food purchasing and delivery services to the  elderly and disabled individuals. The purchase and home delivery of SNAP food is expected to benefit and improve participation of seniors living in rural areas where poverty is high.

FNS is planning to select up to twenty food purchasing and delivery services firms for the pilot program which is expected to start this summer. The SNAP Food Purchasing and Delivery Pilot program will allow food stamp participants to use their benefits online, buy groceries, and have them delivered.

The other option of the pilot will allow for redemption of the SNAP benefits through mobile services.

For more information on How to Apply for SNAP Food Purchasing and Deliver Pilot and the Procedures for Selection visit FNS page

Sources: Press Releases, FNS, USDA