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How to Get Free Phone Service in North Carolina with the ACP

If you struggle to afford high-speed internet or phone service in North Carolina, pay close attention.

Low-income households can get FREE monthly cell phone service with UNLIMITED Data, Talk & Text on one of the nation’s largest 4G LTE/5G networks through the Lifeline Program and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

These government benefit programs are just two out of a thousand that exist in the U.S. to help lift Americans out of poverty by providing access to affordable essential goods and services.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 1.4 million North Carolina residents lived in poverty during 20211. And it is estimated that over 1.7 million households in North Carolina are eligible for the ACP2.

If you or someone you live with currently receives federal assistance through programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or Food Stamps), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Veterans Pension, or if your household makes below a certain income, then you can look to the ACP to help you get FREE UNLIMITED cell phone service for $0 a month!

Let me explain how.

Low-income North Carolina Residents Can Get FREE Phone Service with the ACP

North Carolina flag waving in the wing against a bright sunny sky.
The Affordable Connectivity Program offers low- to middle-income American households significant discounts on essential internet service.

On December 31, 2021, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) replaced the widely popular Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program, which was introduced during the COVID-19 Pandemic to help low-income Americans stay connected online and afford essential internet services.

This $14 billion Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program provides the following benefits to qualifying low- to moderate-income households:

  • A discount of up to $30 per month for broadband services.
  • A discount of up to $75 per month toward broadband services for consumers who live on qualifying Tribal lands3.
  • A one-time device discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider (requires a minimum consumer $10.01 co-payment).

How to Qualify for ACP Benefits in North Carolina

Low-income U.S. households in North Carolina may qualify for monthly ACP Internet service discounts if their annual income falls below a certain threshold or if any of its members are actively participating in government assistance programs.

Also, if you or a member of your family is a current Lifeline Program participant, you may be eligible for the ACP. Both Lifeline and ACP discounts can be applied to the same or different services from the same provider.

To maximize your benefits, we strongly encourage you to sign up with a leading Lifeline and ACP provider such as Q Link Wireless and combine your ACP and Lifeline benefits to get FREE UNLIMITED monthly cell phone service.

Determining ACP Eligibility Based on Household Income

Happy multi-generational family household sitting together on a couch at home using a laptop.
Low-income households in North Carolina can qualify for the ACP and get FREE monthly phone service based on annual income.

If your household income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines4, then you may be eligible for the ACP. The following table shows the qualifying income thresholds per household size.

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
*The Federal Poverty Guidelines are updated at the end of January.

Let’s Define What It Means to Be a “Household”

A “household” is defined as any group of people who live together, sharing money and expenses5.

Regardless of your relationship, if you and one other person live in the same home, share income, and both of you contribute toward home expenses, then you are considered one household and must share one ACP benefit.

If you live together and don’t share money or expenses, you are considered to be separate households and each of you can receive your own ACP benefit.

It’s important to remember that only one monthly service discount and one internet-connected device discount are allowed per household. Additionally, ACP discounts cannot be transferred between individuals even if the other person would qualify.

Examples of Household Income
Salary, Public Assistance Benefits, Social Security Payments, Pensions, Unemployment Compensation, Veteran’s Benefits, Inheritances, Alimony, Child Support Payments, Worker’s Compensation Benefits, Gifts, Lottery Winnings, etc.  
Examples of Household Expenses
Food, Healthcare, Utilities, Rent or Mortgage \Payments, etc.

Determining ACP Eligibility Based on Government Program Participation

Member of the armed forces in uniform looking at his smartphone.
Being a current participant in certain government assistance programs will help you qualify for FREE phone service through the ACP.

You are eligible for the ACP if you or someone in your household is currently enrolled in a government program and receives federal assistance benefits from any of the following programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or 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)/Section 202/Section 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)

How to Apply for the ACP in North Carolina

Let’s say you or someone you know meets all the qualifications for the ACP, and now you’re looking for how you can apply for ACP benefits.

The first thing you should know is that the ACP uses its own centralized application system called the National Eligibility Verifier, which is used to determine a consumer’s eligibility for ACP benefits.

There are several ways to apply for ACP benefits using the ACP’s National Verifier system, but the most efficient way is to sign up with Q Link Wireless, a leading ACP service provider that offers FREE UNLIMITED cell phone service with Data Talk & Text every month.

What If You Don’t Qualify for ACP Benefits?

Black man and woman sitting outside while smiling and looking at a smartphone together.
Spreading ACP awareness can help low-income communities stay connected with FREE cell phone service.

Even if you don’t qualify for the ACP, you may know someone who does, and sharing this information with them could probably change their life. Really!

Spreading ACP awareness can not only help low-income Americans stay informed of the federal assistance benefits available to them, but it can also help keep this essential program alive and well-funded.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the official poverty rate in the U.S. for 2021 was 11.6%, with approximately 37.9 million people living in poverty6.

In the state of North Carolina specifically, there were nearly 1.4 million (13.5%) residents living in poverty in 20211.

North Carolina’s Push for ACP Awareness

North Carolina is one of the few states where ACP adoption is a priority, and the push to expand peoples’ access to broadband in low-income communities has resulted in roughly 765,000 households successfully enrolling in the program1.

This push for ACP awareness across the state has elevated North Carolina’s ACP adoption rate to a solid 44%, surpassing the national ACP adoption rate, which currently stands at 37%1.

These numbers may seem impressive. But there are still roughly one million ACP-eligible households in North Carolina that have yet to advantage of this government benefit program and are therefore missing out on free phone and high-speed internet service.

Eventually, the goal is not to have a need for programs like the ACP, but as long as there continue to be struggling Americans, we need to do our best to spread the word and give them the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

Get FREE Government Phone Service in North Carolina with the ACP

Mature man and woman using a cell phone while sitting outside on the grass.
North Carolina low-income residents can have FREE cell phone service with UNLIMITED Data, Talk & Text thanks to the ACP.

Assuming you do meet all the requirements for the ACP, your next step is to sign up for FREE UNLIMITED cell phone service with a qualified ACP provider like Q Link Wireless.

For more than 10 years, Q Link Wireless has been committed to keeping low-income Americans connected to the world around them.

Qualifying consumers receive FREE cell phone service and reliable nationwide coverage with UNLIMITED Data, Talk & Text on one of America’s largest 4G LTE/5G networks.

Learn more about Q Link’s nationwide coverage!

As a Q Link customer, you don’t pay any monthly phone bills or hidden fees and are not subject to contracts or credit checks.

You can even enjoy the convenience of keeping your current phone number and device if all you need is Q Link’s FREE phone service. Plus, you’ll get 2 months of Amazon Prime FREE as an extra bonus for joining!

Or if you’re looking to upgrade your phone when you switch, then you’re in luck! Q Link’s shop includes a wide selection of quality smartphone brands at an affordable value.

Check out Q Link Wireless’ phones and deals!

Stop paying for phone service and sign up with Q Link Wireless to get your FREE UNLIMITED phone service through the ACP today!

References:

1. U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service; “U.S. Poverty” – https://data.ers.usda.gov/reports.aspx?ID=17826

2. EducationSuperHighway; “ACP Enrollment Dashboard” – https://www.educationsuperhighway.org/no-home-left-offline/acp-data/

3. Eligible Tribal Lands for the Lifeline Program – https://www.lifelinesupport.org/wp-content/uploads/documents/get-lifeline/fcc_tribal_lands_map.pdf

4. 2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines – https://www.usac.org/about/affordable-connectivity-program/application-and-eligibility-resources/how-to-prove-income/

5. What Is a Household? – https://www.affordableconnectivity.gov/do-i-qualify/what-is-a-household/

6. U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Official Poverty Rate: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/poverty-awareness-month.html#:~:text=The%20official%20poverty%20rate%20in,and%20Table%20A%2D1

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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