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.