A temporary benefit has been announced that could help you with your broadband costs in Missouri. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the new Emergency Broadband Benefit program.

During the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, this temporary benefit program will lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households.

The program provides various discounts towards broadband service for eligible households and a larger discounts for households that qualify. The benefit also provides a discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes $10 to $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider.

According to a report from the Missouri Department of Economic Development, a household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria. The criteria includes the following:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
  • Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Has received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Has experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider. Those providers can be found at https://www.fcc.gov/emergency-broadband-benefit-providers.

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