In November 2021 when Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) was also created. This program is designed to provide high-speed internet to millions of Americans who would otherwise be unable to afford the rising costs of internet services. To be eligible, if your household income is twice the federal poverty level or less (which is about $55,000/year for a family of 4 or $27,000/year for an individual) or if a member of your household is on Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or a number of other qualified programs, your household would be eligible to “affordably connect” to high-speed internet services. If qualified, your household would receive a $30/month credit toward your internet bill. This means most Americans would receive high-speed internet from select providers at low or no cost. The select providers currently include AT&T, Comcast, Spectrum, Verizon and Frontier. A number of other smaller providers serving rural areas are also included. To find out if your household is eligible, please call (877) 384-2575 or go to www.GetInternet.gov.
The ACP is especially important for people applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSA currently provides the option to participate in online video (disability) hearings through Microsoft Teams as well as lots of additional online services and information, including access to your “My Social Security Account.” The SSA My Account provides status updates on pending claims and ALJ decisions, the date and time of a scheduled disability hearing and allows you to view the medical evidence in your record. It also allows you to request a replacement Social Security card and get estimates on future retirement and disability benefits. To set up a My Social Security Account, visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount. Having affordable access to high-speed internet services through the ACP would provide an individual greater access to the online services SSA provides. If you have questions about the ACP, please contact the Social Security disability lawyers at Henson Fuerst today.