Senior Internet Service – Is there an Internet for Seniors plan?

Too many of America’s senior citizens have trouble paying their bills these days. Many have had their savings wiped out, others have seen their income decline sharply due to low interest rates, and some live on their social security payments and simply can’t keep up with rising expenses. Through no fault of their own, many seniors can’t afford even the most necessary of things, like a broadband internet connection. Yes, being connected to the internet is necessary in today’s world.

With all the new programs that provide inexpensive internet to low-income people, one would think there must be an internet program specifically designed to provide internet for seniors. But surprisingly, there are no such senior internet programs, not even an AARP Internet plan.

They government (the Federal Communications Commission) has “encouraged” Comcast to create the Internet Essentials broadband internet service for low-income Americans. It also “encouraged” Century Link to set up, Internet Basics, an internet service for students on free lunch programs. But, alas, nothing to provide internet for senior citizens.

Connect2Compete was created as a partnership of non-profit groups and private companies to help low income Americans cross the digital divide. But, alas, Connect2Compete offers no senior internet programs.

The government is in a pilot program that we’ve dubbed “Lifeline Internet” because it is similar to the Lifeline Assistance program, which helps low-income households get free cell phones and free minutes. But, that programs seems to have stalled.

We’ve developed this page because we have received so many emails from needy seniors asking why the government and various companies seemingly help everyone but them. Where is cheap internet for seniors? Why no senior internet programs?

Here’s our advice: While there is no cheap internet program designed specifically for them, it’s quite possible that many seniors may qualify for one of the existing programs. Check each program’s eligibility requirements to see if you qualify.

Let’s review them quickly:

Internet Basics: If you participate in any governmental assistance programs such as food stamps (SNAP), public housing assistance, Medicaid, Section 8 housing, Supplemental Security Income, various Home Energy Assistance Programs, National School Lunch and other programs, OR if your income is at or below 135-150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, you may qualify. Follow the link for more information.

Internet Essentials: If there is a student in your house who participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), they many qualify for this program that provides $9.95/month high-speed internet and a computer for $150. Do you have a grandchild or even great grandchild living with you?

Connect2Compete: This has essentially the same eligibility criteria as Internet Essentials, above — a child on the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

We hope that we will one day be able to replace this page with one that announces a new “cheap internet for seniors” package. We’ll keep you informed of anything that might be coming.

In the meantime, we encourage you to call your state and federal representatives, and even the cable and telephone companies themselves, to urge them to expand their cheap internet programs to include America’s needy seniors.

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Comments

  1. ms feed-up says

    I am not understanding the different internet services, that dont care about their SENIORS that are living way below the proverty line and on fixed incomes. The USA, is said to be the greast country in the world,if that is so i wish the Goverment would act as such when it comes to senoirs. The internet is part of the future fontier, but can the poor and aging keep up with prices to have a computer with service. I dont live ubove my means of 700. dollars a month, i dont have cable or landline and disabled senior on oxygen and i cant afford the internet the rising cost of internet or landline,. Just like the goverment help everyone in other countries THEY NEED TOO TAKE CARE OF THEIR OWN!!!!

  2. James says

    Thank you for showing us all these “senior” programs that require
    you to have a CHILD in the “free lunch program”.
    I don’t have a child. I don’t have a grandchild.
    I’m just a SENIOR who’s living on a very limited income,
    and getting –so screwed– by Time Warner’s billing practices
    that I can’t afford to keep internet anymore.

  3. Fred Stark says

    I feel most anger at the major internet providers who are giving us high monthly charges for crappy services. But in Europe, you get low monthly charges for 10 times the faster speed. That is because our government is the hand-maiden of these providers ! This is the power of monopoly !

  4. D Allen says

    I am 56 years old and have worked hard my whole life but always worked min wage jobs. I am trying to live on the min SS due to a disability. I’ve raised 3 kids who have moved on with their own lives and families. And can’t ask for help and I’m finding out I fall between the cracks with a lot of stuff that’s out there. To young for some things to old for others or no kids in school that disqualifies me for others. I live in the mountains where you have to have away to get around because there’s no cabs or bus service so that is a necessity but I have had to let internet, cable, cell phone (there’s no service where I live anyway) anything that isn’t totally a necessity to life and limb go but what really burns my britches is that I signed up for food stamps and originally I received $30 dollars but when the president did the sequester (I think thats what it was called) they took $15 of them. When I asked why so little its because I own my home (a 71 trailer) you can imagine the shape one that old is in. They have on my app that I qualify for $1 housing allowance. When I asked why, they said you don’t get credit for all your bills. Who makes up all these rules? Have they ever tried to live on $700 a month. I wish the people in these lofty positions had to live like this for 6 months. I think things would change. I know people with children need help I wish to God I could have had more help when raising mine. But we are the generation that worked hard and paid in our taxes and now that we need help where is it?
    On a side note I think that the people that represent us in government shouldn’t get paid after they get voted out of office. Just think how all that money could be used to help the poor.

  5. mrs.Maria says

    Thank you for saying all of this Appalled AND Fed-UP. It’s so true and unfortunately no help for us! I remember a time when we used to make jokes about eating dog or cat food when we retire because seniors have so little to live on. That was a joke whit which we tried to cover our fears about how little we’ll be getting for our retirement. Which is Not Much to live on. Especially when you a widow or widower whit no family you help. I wish that our politicians could get retirement income like we do.!!!!!

  6. chet prescott says

    Good News: The Verizon Website advertises a $34.99 DSL telephone and internet
    package. I now pay $89.00 for the same service. Best Wishes

    • Cheap Internet Administrator says

      Check to see what the “regular rate” is after 12 months. It most likely is just a teaser rate.

  7. K says

    80 years old. Windowed, living on my a single Social secutiy allotment. What maybe hae been a luxdery years ago is a necessity today. I no longer have TV as Ican afford the “DirecTC” or Comacst outrageous fees. My phone alone ahs come with so many surcharges taht I had to get rid of that and go on my daoughts cell phone plan. However it is an older phone that the battery dies after 4 hours. My daugher cant affort to add a data plan to her package to get an upgraded phone, because that is so expensive. So not much here. I realize that technology costs money and do I really need it? probably not, but I dont think it is really a luxery that should cost so much drain seniors. I also leave twon when the snow comes becasue of my arthritus, most of the companies that even offer the expensive internet make it difficult for senoirs that need to flee weather for a few months. Why is it okay that seniors are taken advantage of in this country, most countries actually repect thier elderly, ours continues to tell them they have been here too long. Maybe we shoudl focus on a “National Internet” (like healthcare) and wake up the Comcast, DirecTV and others perhaps if they thought they would lose their huge profits they would have more reasonable pricing.

  8. Mike says

    I say when we reach 65,just go to the state prison door and say we want to join.We would have a much easer life,then living the way seniors have to live.This is the only way senior citizens will be taking care of..

  9. Appalled AND Fed-UP says

    Too angry right now to say much of what’s REALLY on my mind because of my childhood “training” that’s difficult to ignore because I may say too much. I have agreed totally with 99.99999% of all the comments that have been allowed to be posted here by every concerned person rather than having been censored or deleted by the owner of this site. I’ll just say this, and this is not the only thing I hate, loathe and despise–and that, among so many other atrocities is is how American citizens and especially our precious tax paying seniors here in America are treated–while far too many of the needs of AMERICAN seniors HERE AT HOME are regularly and systematically being ignored and negatively and deliberately under-funded by our government, while they’re systematically sending us to the :back of the line like we’re low-class beggars,unworthy deadbeats and vagabonds so that they make sure our enemies (Middle Easterners, illegal aliens, so-called refugees, etc.), people whom absolutely LOATHE, HATE AND DESPISE America and EVERYTHING this country stands for. The crooked factions of our government and the career politicians will always cause problems for us and what really GALLS ME IS THAT they are always so ready, so eager and so willing to “find” millions of dollars available to send to other people in other regions of the world with no debating or filibustering. The money is coming out of the “General Fund,” which is the fund they created in order to :dump” all the social security monies the taxes they force us to pay from our wages. Our tax dollars should NEVER be used for dead beat countries and anyone else who’ve not contributed to the fund.

  10. Lina says

    It is sad that after all the years contributing with your taxes to support many government programs, that now that you need a little help from that same government you can’t even get a decent and practical way to pay your bills, and do many other things on line. It is hard to move around when age catches up with you, and if you think older people do not know to navigate in the intent, think again, because we HAD to stay up to date to live in the new century.

  11. Wanda M says

    I agree that the seniors are totally being left out in the cold, as far as over the air TV which we can still get in some areas. When the gov. switched to Digital the senior was really hit hard. You had to purchase a box to even get Regular TV., Have you noticed that when we have storms how the signal is lost. I have had my Altell since 2004 wireless unlimited usage, without one complaint from me. Then Verizon took them over and informed everyone that we would have to get new service, the card that we paid to have a part installed to use this card would stop working and we would no longer be able to get the internet. My son a VA Vet on disability was using internet for collage classes he was taking online and we used around 1,532,196 Kilobytes and all of satellite companies and wireless keep telling me that 10 GM would easily give us more then we needed, the number of Kilobytes was about half of the 10 GM and that we were getting FREE from 12:00 Midnight until 5:00 AM. I am not up at those hours. ,MY contract ends in January 2015 and I will be changing service providers at that time.
    I would really like to work from my fully equipped home office. But nobody wants me due to the fact can’t get hardwired internet service. I’ll bet in the next few years over air TV will be gone. Oh,,, to be around or look down on what is going on in this world in another 50 to 100 years……I’m 73 and have seen so many changes in my life. GOOD and BAD! I agree that I do not understand why the US Gov can send so much to help people in other countries, Yes, I know they need it but some areas of this GOOD OLD USA that need help that doesn’t happen.

  12. Ron says

    I know exactly what you are saying. Verizon is doing the same thing to me now. I purchased a DSL (Freedom Essential) plan from them about three years ago. About two months after I purchased the plan they have been trying to squeeze me out of that plan and get me to purchase FIOS. It was to the point of harassment. Not only were they calling my house after hours, I could not call them for clarifications of a phone bill without my call turning into a sales pitch for FIOS. No matter how much I tried to explain to them that I do not need FIOS they never listened to me. Eventually, without my consent, they started taking away my Freedom Essential plan. I told them that I wanted to keep my Freedom Essential plan and I was told that I was not suppose to have it. I told them that my Freedom Essential plan was good until October of 2016 or 2018 (I am sure it was one of those years). They insist that I should not have Freedom Essential. It appeared as if they wanted me to terminate the plan instead of them terminating the plan for me. Freedom Essential was a good plan and I was completely satisfied with it. I believe verizon wanted me to terminate or agree to terminate my Freedom Essential plan so they will not be liable for any bleaches. I have been trying to maintain my Freedom Essential plan and rate, but they have constantly pushed to the point until I now have a Regional Essential plan. They have actually forced me out of my Freedom Essential plan into a plan that gives me what I do not need at a higher cost. The only thing I have now is in-state calls and high speed internet (DSL) up to 3 mbps for about $60.00 per month. Now that they have squeezed me out of my original plan (Freedom Essential) without my consent, I am afraid to see what my bill will be next year. From reading the messages on this site, there appears to be a group of people who’s needs are not being met or are being totally pushed aside.

  13. John Rasdel says

    Hi I am 70 years old and Verizon has done the same to me my bill for Phone local only
    and internet lowest speed was 52.04. They took it upon themselves and disconnect me
    then re connect and now charge me 75.82 for the same thing.
    Thanks John

  14. Gaynell Kirk says

    Hello, I am a senior 69 yrs. old. My hubby is a sick man. We have a handicap daughter.
    We live on his SS and take care of her with her checks. It takes a lot of money to keep dr. bills paid and essentials. Between the slow internet I have and my old worn out laptop computer, I am ready to give it up. My older daughter is paying for dialup. I would not let her get high speed. She has a child and bills and I feel guilty her taking care of this. Wish I had a cheap broadband to use then maybe i could get my handicap daughter on the internet.
    Thanks, Gaynell Kirk

  15. M says

    I too am a senior searching for a low cost internet provider. I have been with AT&T for many years and in the past have been able to receive a reasonable discount on their DSL internet service. This discount was given through their “Retention Department” and would be valid for either a six month or twelve month period , after which the regular price would kick in and I would have to call them back and ask for a new rate As of July 2014 my internet bill increased from $14.95 per month (That was my discount price for the past year) to $36.00 per month. After talking to them they could only offer me a $5.00 per month discount. They did offer a lower price if I switched to their “U-Verse” plan, but after one year it would increase to a higher rate than the current DSL price of $36.00 per month. I don’t know what I will do. I have investigated other services such as “Freedom Pop”.. I just don’t know enough about “Data Usage” to understand how much I would need for my particular application.

    Bottom line, I am very disappointed that the government does not provide a low cost high speed internet service for seniors who need a little help (and also to low income families with or without children).

    The internet is fast becoming a necessity in this high tech world. It should be just as free as broadcast TV.

  16. RH says

    I’m glad that I guess one option for others without children is available to “some”. I’m now 52, I’ve been severely disabled and housebound for 12 years now. I am living on SSI which is much less than those living on SS. I raised my 4 children and they are now building their families/lives and have moved from our small town. I’m divorced since 98 (large part of the reason I’m no longer able to walk, 18 years of bad marriage) I have caregivers that come and help me now everyday, that is humiliating. My only access with the outside world is the computer which due to long distance my large family (siblings, their families & our parents) and my children and now grandchildren keep in touch via email & share photos this way. Sadly with power and everything going up except SSI I’m finding it very difficult to keep up. I’ve never had a credit card to rely on and don’t intend on having it. I have power, computer, dropped phone, basic tv channels, garbage, water, sewer, food, housing and then the medical non covered. I’m afraid I’m going to have to drop intenet $39.99 and that’s going to kill me inside. I won’t hear from or be able to contact my loved ones. That’s the only time I do. And I look for free patterns to try and crochet things for gifts for them on good days. I’ve lost the ability to do all the other things I used to be able to do.

    Internet Basics, Centery Link is not offered in my area 97128. I checked 2 years ago and again now, same result. This is so depressing as I don’t know how much longer I can hang on. The power company is already sending shut off notices because I send $97 a month instead of the $138 a month flat rate budget amount they want. That is all I have period. I have nothing left for even an extra roll of toliet paper. I wish the people in Washington DC would live on what I live on for one month.

    If anyone knows of any internet options for Western Oregon please let me know. I already lost the local news of my community, can’t subscribe. So I feel like a stranger in my own town even though I don’t get out except with medical assistance to medical appointments and hospitalizations. I haven’t been home to see my parents in 13 years. This is the ONLY way I have to stay in touch with my family and with my children and now my grandchildren. Thank you. ~R

  17. Theresa says

    WOW …! what has America come to? I remember I needed help for myself Irecieved food stamps for myself. They told me about free service for cell phone with free minutes. I was in a position with no support, family and friends when your not making your own money was zero . IT WAS HEART BREAKING .For the few months that I needed that help … I felt BLESSED !

  18. Ms M. says

    For 2 years I paid a Verizon Contract for LAPTOP BROADBAND EXCLUSIVELY $51 monthly. I am 71 years old and very low income on Soc. Security but I didn’t use any of the monthly 4GB broadband and it does not accumulate. I used FREE WIFI at MULTIPLE RESIDENCES for two years but you must have decent BROADBAND 4GB to use WIFI.

    My laptop is no longer hooked up to receive WIFI and I cannot afford $85 or MORE monthly LAPTOP ONLY HIGH BROADBAND USE FEES from VERIZON.

    I need UNLIMITED BROADBAND for a WINDOWS 7 LAPTOP Exclusively to continue online EMPLOYMENT CLASSES, DOWNLOADING MUSIC, EMAIL, PLAY DVDs and CDs, FACEBOOK GAMES etc.

    Have to move again and I am desperate for UNLIMITED BROADBAND to RESEARCH ACCOMODATIONS, MEDICAL AVAILABILITY, STORES before I can move.

    PLEASE REPLY.

  19. says

    I am a widowed senior citizen 81 years old. I am
    interested internet service, as I can no longer afford
    services I have now. Please help me find a reliable,
    service for a reasonable price I can afford. I am way
    below the poverty line. Thanky you

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