Keeping up with the current digital trends has become necessary in this age where every aspect of our lives is becoming technologically oriented. Many modern devices help us do this, such as computers, tablets, smartphones, and laptops.
In recent years, however, many people have started to appreciate tablets more. This is because of the ease with which they can use them to conduct business, attend online classes, and connect with their loved ones. However, most tablets come at exorbitant prices, making it extremely difficult for financially disadvantaged individuals to afford them.
The situation worsened at the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic as many people became severely impacted economically. This made it even more challenging to purchase devices such as tablets. Luckily, the government stepped in with the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
The ACP program provides financial assistance to help low-income families pay for broadband services and help them purchase digital devices such as tablets. Please continue reading this article if you want to know how to get an ACP free tablet.
What is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
The Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP is a Federal Government-run assistance program that helps to keep low-income households connected to the internet. This program gives monthly discounts amounting to $30 to households that meet specific prerequisite criteria.
It also gives monthly discounts amounting to $75 to people who live in Tribal lands recognized by the Federal Government to help them pay for internet services.
Initially, the government developed the Emergency Broadband Benefit program during the COVID era to temporarily assist people who couldn’t afford broadband services. However, the government saw its importance in helping bridge the digital divide and substituted it with the ACP on December 31, 2021.
Aside from providing monthly discounts that are used to settle broadband service bills, the ACP also gives eligible members a discount amounting to $100. This helps them to buy gadgets such as tablets and desktops. Eligible members will only be required to contribute as little as $10 to offset the total cost of the tablet.
This program has helped many households to access tablets that would be too expensive to purchase. However, each household can only receive a single discount from the program.
Who Qualifies for the ACP Free Tablet
The Affordable Connectivity Program has particular prerequisite criteria that you should satisfy for you to get an ACP free tablet. These criteria have been put in place to ensure that only low-income households can benefit from the program. They include:
- All applicants should have an annual income that is equal to or less than 200% of the Poverty Guidelines set by the Federal Government. These guidelines vary from one state to the other, so you should first confirm your state’s income guidelines before sending your application for a free tablet.
- The second criterion the Federal Government uses to evaluate your eligibility for the ACP is your participation in government-aided programs. You can get a free ACP tablet from providers if you take part in any of the following programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- Supplemental Security Income
- Women, Infants, and Children
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Free Reduced Price School Lunch Program
- Housing Choice Voucher Program
- Program-Based Rental Assistance
- Veterans Pension or Survivors Benefit
- If you reside in Tribal Lands and subscribe to one of the programs below, then you will also be considered eligible:
- Tribal Head Start
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Affordable Housing Programs for American Indians
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Alternatively, any applicant awarded a Federal Pell Grant in the year under consideration can also receive ACP benefits. This grant is meant for students undertaking bachelor’s degrees but lacking the financial capacity to pay for their studies. It is one of the easiest ways to show that you’re from the low-income bracket.
The Affordable Connectivity Program has a minimum age limit of 18 years. However, minors who present documents that show they are emancipated can also receive a free tablet through this program.
Documents Needed to Apply for an ACP Free Tablet
The National Verifier usually scrutinizes your applications to see if you meet all the prerequisites for the ACP program. As a result, you will be required to present all your relevant documents for authentication. The documents required include:
Income Proof Documents
Before you submit your application for a free tablet to one of the ACP free tablet providers, you must attach one of the documents below to show that you’re financially strained.
- Pension statement of benefits
- Child support award
- Social security statement of benefits
- Veteran administration of benefits
- Annual federal tax return
- Unemployment statement of benefits
Government-Aided Programs Documents
Free tablet providers will need you to prove that you’re currently receiving aid from one of the assistance programs run by the Federal Government. The following documents will be needed:
- Federal Public Housing benefit award letter
- SNAP verification letter
- Medicaid approval letter
- TANF award letter
Identity Proof Documents
Some of the documents that can be used to authenticate your identity include:
- Birth certificate
- Military ID
- State-issue ID
- A Green card
- US driver’s license
Application Process for an ACP Free Tablet
The two primary methods you can use to apply for an ACP free tablet if you cannot afford one are outlined below. Ensure that you have gathered all your details and documents before you begin.
1. Applying Through The National Verifier Official Website
You can complete your application from the Federal Government’s official website for the assistance programs. Keenly follow the steps provided below:
- Step 1: Visit the official ACP website.
- Step 2: Select the ‘Apply Now’ option at the bottom of the page.
- Step 3: You will be taken to the National Verifier site, where you will be required to complete an application form.
- Step 4: Input the required details, for example, your name and the date you were born.
- Step 5: Choose whether you became eligible dependently or independently and select ‘Next’.
- Step 6: Create your account by inputting your email address and password.
- Step 7: Attach all the documents mentioned in the previous section.
- Step 8: Submit your application with the authentication documents and await approval.
- Step 9: If accepted into the program, search for service providers within your state. Get in touch with them, and they will offer you plans and devices that you can pick.
2. Applying Through The ACP Providers Website
If you have already decided on the service provider you’re going to send your application to after carrying out your research, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Navigate to the official website of the ACP provider you’ve settled for
- Step 2: Search for their ACP application page. From this page, complete the ACP application form.
- Step 3: Input all the correct details and attach all the authentication documents.
- Step 4: You will be given a list of available plans and devices from which you can pick.
- Step 5: Send the application and wait for feedback.
Important things to note when applying for an ACP free tablet:
- You should not send the original copies of your document when making the application. Clear copies will suffice.
- Not every provider gives out free tablets. Ensure that the one you’ve picked has a free tablet program
- Only provide accurate information since your application will be authenticated. You application for a free tablet will be declined if the information is false.
ACP Free Tablet Providers
Several service providers collaborate with the Federal Government through the Affordable Connectivity Program to provide technological assistance to low-income customers. They have varied plans and benefits and operate in different parts of the country. The following will offer you an ACP free tablet:
- Easy Wireless
- StandUp Wireless
- Q Link Wireless
- Cintex Wireless
- Assurance Wireless
- Boost Mobile
- Verizon Wireless
Which ACP Free Tablet Can You Get
The type and model of ACP Free Tablet you can get from an ACP service provider will highly depend on what they have in store. However, these are the types that you can expect:
- Lenovo Tab 5
- Google Chromebook
- Lenovo Tab 5
- Samsung Galaxy tab S7
- LG G Pad 5
- Microsoft Surface Go 2
What Other Benefits Does the ACP Offer
You can accrue many benefits from the Affordable Connectivity Program besides receiving a tablet for free. Here they are:
- Some ACP service providers may offer discounted or free plans with unlimited texts, minutes, and data. This can help you to communicate freely at a cheaper cost.
- Other providers offer high-speed internet, WiFi, and hotspot features.
- You can get other free devices, such as smartphones and desktops, to help you stay connected so you don’t miss out on any opportunities.
How Else Can You Get a Free Tablet
The Affordable Connectivity Program has very stringent regulations; as such, not everyone can be accepted into it despite being genuine. Where else can you get a free tablet if you cannot receive one from the ACP? These are a few places you can consider:
1. Charity Organizations
Many non-profit organizations were explicitly formed to empower disadvantaged groups by providing devices such as computers and tablets. Some good examples include Adaptive.org, EveryoneOn, Komputer for Kids, and Salvation Army.
You can approach one of these organizations and make your application for a free tablet. Most of them have websites from where you can get their contact information. Some of them will also help you get free access to internet services.
2. Your Local Library
While your local library may not provide you with a free tablet, they can give you access to theirs. This option is convenient, especially for students who want to research and finish assignments but don’t have the means to.
If you have time on your hands, you can visit all or most of your local libraries and find out if they have tablets or laptops that you could use. Most libraries also provide free internet that you can use with these devices.
Many tech companies, for example, Apple, Samsung, Nokia, and Microsoft, run promotions from time to time. These promotions allow you to get premium tablets at discounted prices or for free.
You can also participate in giveaways from reputable online retailers and sites. The only downside is that the number of people participating in giveaways overshadows the number of tablets that these retailers offer. Getting a tablet through this method will entirely depend on luck. However, you should be careful not to take part in giveaways from fictitious sites that could potentially defraud you.
4. Social Media
Social media is one of the best places to look for free tablets. Online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are full of generous people and organizations willing to donate their tablets, computers, cellphones, etc., once they have no use for them.
You can scour through social media pages to find such people. Alternatively, you can make your plea for funds to purchase a tablet through sites such as GoFundMe. If people find your request genuine, they can contribute towards your purchase.
5. Websites Such as Craigslist and Freecycle
Websites such as Craigslist and Freecycle provide the perfect platform for people who want to get rid of their gadgets. If you are keen enough, you might find someone selling their tablet at a throwaway price. This mostly happens when they want to upgrade to a newer device. Others might ask for an exchange instead of cash, so you might not spend any money to get a tablet.
Just a few years ago, it was almost impossible to get a reliable tablet if you did not have sufficient funds. However, the Affordable Connectivity program has made tablets accessible to everyone, including people from financially disadvantaged backgrounds.
If you do not know how to get an ACP free tablet, this article has provided a complete guide. Just go through it in depth, and you will be good to go!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can if you enrol for the Affordable Connectivity program the company offers. You can also enjoy other free benefits, such as unlimited text, data, and minutes.
There is no specific date that the ACP will end as it was made to replace the Emergency Broadband Benefit permanently.
The Lifeline program is an old government program designed to provide telecommunication assistance to low-income households. On the other hand, the ACP is a more recent program to help people afford internet services.
Unfortunately, every household can only receive one benefit from an ACP provider. You are also not allowed to receive benefits from two providers simultaneously.