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How to Qualify for Free Cell Phone Service in Florida with the Affordable Connectivity Program

Every day, low-income Americans struggle to afford day-to-day essentials like food, healthcare, education, housing, and reliable communication. In the state of Florida, nearly 2.7 million residents were living below the federal poverty threshold in 20211.

With poverty comes a network of disadvantages. Luckily, there are over 1,000 state and federal programs in the U.S. dedicated to helping low-income individuals and households afford basic necessities and serving as important resources to lift them out of poverty.

Some familiar government benefit programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Pension, and many more.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is an important government assistance program that helps low-income households in Florida afford internet connectivity and even qualify for FREE UNLIMITED cell phone service with companies like Q Link Wireless.

Understanding the prerequisites and usage guidelines of this program will allow you to effectively manage your home finances and also guarantee a reliable wireless internet service for your family.

Low-income Floridians Can Get Benefits Through the ACP

Washington DC Capitol building with the American flag waving in the foreground.

The ACP is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the FCC. The ACP gives beneficiaries a monthly discount on their internet service bill to ensure low-income Americans can afford the broadband services they need to stay connected.

Qualifying for ACP benefits can also help you receive FREE UNLIMITED cell phone service with select carriers like Q Link Wireless!

In late 2021, the ACP replaced the previously known Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program, which came about during the COVID-19 pandemic to help low-income American households stay connected on the internet.

ACP Benefits Explained

The ACP provides low-income households with the following benefits:

  • A discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service
  • A discount of up to $75 per month toward internet service for qualifying households on Tribal lands
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 on a qualifying internet device such as a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from a participating provider (requires a minimum $10.01 customer copayment)

As of June 2023, there are approximately over 3.5 million ACP-eligible households in the state of Florida.

Of these 3.5 million, only 36% (~1.2 million) are enrolled in the program. This means that roughly 64% (~2.3 million) of eligible households are not benefitting from ACP-provided monthly discounts2.

To give you a larger perspective, the national ACP adoption rate is around 35%. Only 18.2 million of 51.6 million ACP-eligible households in the U.S. are currently enrolled in ACP2.

That’s over 33.4 million eligible households missing out on ACP benefits and FREE phone service with Q Link Wireless!

How to Qualify for ACP Benefits in Florida

Mature man and woman using their smartphones at a marina pier.
Those who already receive government benefits are automatically eligible for the ACP but there are other ways to qualify.

Eligibility requirements for the ACP are similar to those of the more commonly known Lifeline Program, with some small variations. You can qualify for the ACP based on household income, through participation in another government program, or if anyone in your household already receives a Lifeline benefit.

Determining ACP Eligibility Based on Household Income

Floridians, you may qualify for monthly ACP discounts if your total household income is at or less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Keep in mind that these guidelines are typically updated every January.

2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Household Size48 Connecting States, D.C., and Territories
1$29,160
2$39,440
3$49,720
4$60,000
5$70,280
6$80,560
7$90,840
8$101,120
If more than 8, add this amount for each extra person:$10,280

What is Considered a Low-income Household in Florida?

Big family sitting on the sofa at home using different internet devices and smartphones thanks to ACP and Lifeline government benefit programs.
ACP discounts are limited to one per household and cannot be transferred between individuals.

According to the USAC, a “household” is defined as a collective of individuals who cohabit and share their income and expenses, regardless of their familial ties.

Household expenses include the costs of food, healthcare, and rent or mortgage expenses for the residence, as well as the cost of utilities.

Shared income is determined by the sharing of various financial resources within a household. This income may include salary, public assistance benefits, social security payments, pensions, inheritances, alimony, child support payments, worker’s compensation benefits, gifts, veteran’s benefits, and lottery winnings.

It is important to remember that only one ACP discount is allowed per household, as they are not distributed per individual.

If several members of your household are beneficiaries of the ACP program, it will be considered a violation of the rules set by the FCC and can result in the loss of your FREE ACP government benefit.

Another thing to note is that ACP benefits cannot be transferred between individuals even if they meet the necessary requirements.

Determining ACP Eligibility Based on Gov. Program Participation

Happy senior couple using phone to stay connected using ACP government benefits in Florida.
There are several ways to qualify for ACP government benefits in Florida.

Low-income Floridians, you may be surprised to learn that you can also qualify for the ACP through certain government assistance programs if you or someone in your household already receives:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also called Food Stamps)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid
  • Lifeline Program
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
    • Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (Section 8 Vouchers)
    • Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)/202/811
    • Public Housing
    • Affordable Housing Programs for American Indians, Alaska Natives, or Native Hawaiians
  • Veterans Pension or Survivors Benefit Programs
  • Federal Pell Grant for the current award year
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch or Breakfast Program, or enrollment in a Community Eligibility Provision School
  • Tribal Specific Programs
    • Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) General Assistance
    • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
    • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
    • Tribal Head Start (must meet the income qualifying standard)

Florida Lifeline Subscribers Automatically Qualify for ACP Benefits

If you or someone in your low-income Florida household receives a Lifeline benefit, you can instantly qualify for the ACP. Both discounts can also be applied to the same or different services from the same provider.

How to Apply for ACP Benefits in Florida

Mature Asian woman using a smartphone and laptop at home to apply for the ACP and Lifeline benefit program.
Floridians can apply for ACP and Lifeline benefits online, over the phone, or by mailing in an application.

Low-income Floridians who meet the program qualifications have several ways to apply for the ACP. You can submit a mail-in application, contact a participating service provider, or apply online to speed up the processing time.

Low-income Florida Households Can Get FREE Cell Phone Service

Once you’re approved for the ACP it’s time to start putting those discounts to work!

The best way to make sure you get the most value from this program is to sign up with a leading ACP service provider like Q Link Wireless.

Q Link Wireless provides FREE UNLIMITED Data, Talk & Text to eligible low-income households across the U.S. on a reliable, high-speed 4G LTE/5G network.

Learn more about Q Link’s nationwide coverage!

Millions of Americans rely on Q Link’s FREE cell phone service to stay connected to friends and family, as well as essential emergency services.

See why millions have signed up with Q Link Wireless!

Stop paying monthly phone bills and enjoy ZERO hidden fees and contracts. You can even keep your phone and your number when you sign up. Plus, you’ll get 2 months of Amazon Prime FREE as an extra bonus.

The ACP program exists to help low-income households afford essential communication services, so take advantage and spread the word!

Don’t forget to sign up for your FREE UNLIMITED cell phone service with Q Link Wireless, one of America’s leading ACP service providers.

References:

  1. https://www.flhealthcharts.gov/ChartsDashboards/rdPage.aspx?rdReport=NonVitalInd.Dataviewer&cid=294
  2. https://www.educationsuperhighway.org/no-home-left-offline/acp-data/
Melissa Halle
Melissa Halle
Melissa Halle is a passionate writer and dedicated advocate for accessible communication and financial empowerment. With a decade of experience, her mission is to help individuals and families get FREE cell phone service while providing information on additional government benefits.

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