The US federal government released the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program as a COVID-19 relief. Throughout the pandemic, its participating carrier Safelink Wireless came into play to serve low-income families.
Do you want to gather more information about the Safelink Wireless EBB Program? If yes, you are at the perfect place this time.
This article contains a step-by-step comprehensive guide about the Safelink Wireless EBB Program. By walking through this guide, you will learn everything you were searching for about the topic.
Let’s dive into this article!
Can I avail of the benefits of the EBB Program now?
No, you can’t avail of the benefits of the EBB (Emergency Broadband Benefit) Program right now. The funds of the EBB program are exhausted now. Therefore, the program has come to a halt. In late November 2021, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) decided that this program would transition to the Affordable Connectivity Program on December 31, 2021.
It means that the receivers who were associated with the Safelink Wireless EBB Program moved to the Safelink Wireless ACP (Affordable Connectivity Program) automatically.
So, if you want to avail yourself of the benefits of the EBB program, you have to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program.
What is the EBB Program?
The Federal Communications Commission initiated the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program when COVID-19 broke out. Because of the EBB Program, the whole US was connected to the internet. At that time, it offered heavy discounts on broadband services to low-income households. They got broadband connections at no cost.
EBB Program covered their monthly broadband connection bills by offering them a discount of USD 50. Those who are residing in tribal lands got the benefit of USD 75 on their internet connections.
The FCC did not reach out directly to the customers. It chose some partner providers who could associate with the EBB Program to extend the benefits of zero-cost broadband connections to customers. Safelink Wireless was one of those partner providers who granted the benefits of the EBB program to eligible low-income households.
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How did the EBB program serve during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Throughout the pandemic, it became crucial to connect to the whole US with high-speed internet. The question arose of how low-income eligible households could get a high-speed broadband connection at a heavy price. At that time, several Americans were jobless.
In this critical situation, the FCC rolled out a relief program EBB program. Those who qualified for it could get a broadband connection with a smart device at no cost. In this way, this scheme supported low-income/jobless Americans a lot. It became very easy for them to do work from home, to attend virtual classes, and to socialize virtually.
Check the following pointers to learn more about how the EBB Program served customers:
- No termination fees could be imposed on customers.
- No customer could be forced to buy expensive data plans of low quality.
- The customers felt empowered to choose the plan of their choice at no cost or low cost.
- This prohibited providers from excluding those customers who had due balances from enrolling in the EBB program.
- The receivers never felt the burden of heavy monthly broadband bills on their heads.
- It was a completely fair and transparent program.
But with the disappearance of the Covid 19, the EBB program also went away. Its fund was exhausted, and its beneficiaries merged with the Affordable Connectivity Program.
What were the eligibility criteria for the Safelink Wireless EBB Program?
Though the unprecedented Coronavirus affected everyone badly in the US, the federal government set eligibility criteria to qualify for the EBB Program. The funds were limited, and it was not possible to extend the benefits of the free internet service to all Americans because the US economy stopped progressing, and the situation was getting worse day by day.
Those who qualified for the Safelink Wireless EBB Program qualified for any one of the government assistance programs. Check the following list of government assistance programs:
- Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program,
- National School Breakfast Program
- Received Pell Grant Award in the current year
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
- Tribal Head Start
- Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
How could the income-eligibles qualify for the Safelink Wireless EBB Program?
The FCC gave a relaxation in the eligibility criteria of the EBB Program during COVID-19. It was possible to apply for the program based on income eligibility. Those American households whose gross income was at or below 135% according to the Federal Poverty Guidelines, were eligible for the Safelink Wireless EBB program. Several Americans got the advantage of the zero-cost broadband connection, which opened the doors of opportunities again in the critical period of Covid 19.
How to apply for the Safelink Wireless EBB Program?
There is no need to complete a long procedure to apply for the Safelink Wireless EBB Program. It was very easy to apply for it, but the information that was entered should be correct. The wrong information delayed the Safelink Wireless approval, and it could be the cause of the rejected application form as well.
Go through the following steps to know how one could apply for the Safelink Wireless EBB Program:
- Check the eligibility criteria for the EBB Program at the National Eligibility Verifier.
- Then, go to the official website of SafeLink Wireless.
- Navigate to the option of the EBB Program.
- Click on it.
- Enter the ZIP code in the box. Then, click on
- Input your full name (the same one that is written on the Social Security Number Card)
- Enter the last 4 digits of the Social Security Number or Tribal Authentication Number.
- Provide your date of birth ((the same one that is written on the Social Security Number Card)
- Enter your contact details including your phone number, email address, and residential address)
- Upload the proof or benefit statement of any government assistance programs.
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Which documents were required to upload to qualify for the Safelink Wireless EBB Program?
Read the names of the following documents that were required to upload to qualify for the Safelink Wireless EBB Program:
1. Documents for the government- assistance program
- A benefit award letter
- A statement of benefits
- A screenshot of an online benefits porta
2. Documents for the Federal Pell Grant
- Any financial aid letter that can verify that the student has received a Federal Pell Grant in the current year.
- Receipt of the Pell Grant
- A screenshot of an online benefits portal.
3. Documents for the free or reduced lunch program or the school breakfast program
- A letter from the school or school district
4. Documents for your date of birth
- Driver’s license
- Birth Certificate
- US government, military, state, or tribal ID card
- Certificate of naturalization, Certificate of US citizenship, or consular ID
5. Documents for Social Security Number
- Social security card
- Social Security benefit statement
- W-2 from the previous years
- Former year’s state, federal, or tribal tax return statement
6. Documents for an emancipated minor
- Certificate of emancipation
- Court document
7. Documents for address
- Driver’s license
- US government, military, state, or tribal ID card
- W-2 from the previous years
- Utility bill
- Mortgage or lease statement
What were the limitations of the Safelink Wireless EBB Program?
Some limitations were imposed by the FCC on the Safelink Wireless EBB Program. Go through the following pointers to know what those limitations were:
- Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) was a non-transferable program.
- Only one member from every low-income household could apply for the EBB Program benefits.
- If the receiver has received the benefits of any other participating provider, he couldn’t apply for the Safelink Wireless.
- It was mandatory to activate the services. If the services were deactivated for thirty days, you would be de-enrolled from Safelink Wireless.
- The receiver should not use the received benefits for illegal or fraudulent activities.
1. Are the benefits of the Lifeline and EBB Program the same?
No, the benefits of the Lifeline and EBB Program are not the same. Lifeline gives discounted or free calling and text messaging whereas the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program gives discounted or free broadband connection.
2. Why did the FCC launch the Affordable Connectivity Program?
FCC launched the Affordable Connectivity Program because the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program was only for the Covid 19. This existed only for 6 months. After six months, the partner providers started to transition from the EBB to ACP.
3. Which benefits did the consumers get from the Safelink Wireless EBB program?
The consumers got a discount of up to USD 50 plus unlimited calling, texting, and picture messaging if they qualified for the Safelink Wireless EBB Program.
To conclude, the Safelink Wireless EBB Program helped jobless and low-income Americans by providing them with high-speed Internet connection at discounted or free costs. Now, the beneficiaries of the program have merged into the Affordable Connectivity Program.