TOUCHED BY LYME: New program helps pay for internet access
One of the most important things a Lyme patient needs is internet access. Probably more than most diseases, in Lyme it’s essential to do your own research regarding your symptoms, potential treatments and to track down a doctor willing to help you.
However, for many households, internet access remains unaffordable.
Now, the US Federal Communications Commission has launched a program to reduce the cost of getting online.
The Social Security Administration has posted the following information on its website:
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a discount of up to:
- $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households.
- $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands.
Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 toward purchasing a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. To qualify for this one-time discount, households must contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
Any household with an individual who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is eligible to receive discounted internet service through the ACP. Social Security doesn’t count ACP assistance as income or a resource for SSI purposes. Receipt of this assistance will not affect your SSI payment. You may also be eligible, if your household participates in other assistance programs, such as:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Federal Public Housing Assistance.
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
If you don’t receive SSI or participate in another qualifying assistance program, you may also be eligible if your household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
There are additional ways to qualify. Go to the Affordable Connectivity Program page to learn more and apply. If you have questions, you’ll find a consumer FAQ that can help, along with a list of participating internet service providers sorted by state.
Cost shouldn’t be a barrier to getting online. Being connected can help you find job opportunities and access telehealth services, saving you time and transportation costs. And with affordable internet services, students no longer need to rely on public Wi-Fi hotspots to do their homework or for distance learning.
As of February 2022, more than 10 million households have already enrolled in the ACP program. That’s an exciting threshold, but we know many more eligible households that are not yet enrolled. Please help us spread the word about ACP with your families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
The ACP helps close the digital divide.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s Vice-president and Director of Communications. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.