We live in a digital world where access to a laptop/computer is a necessity and not a privilege. Every day we use a laptop to shop at major online stores for amazing discounts, socialize, access government services, and attend online classes or type classwork. Unfortunately, despite the prices of computers reducing, there are still a significant number of US residents who cannot afford to buy a laptop.
Inability to afford a laptop makes a home poorer as they are unable to apply for jobs through online platforms. It also affects students learning, as they may not be able to complete assignments in time or hold group discussions. Luckily, the government offers free laptops for low-income families to help them access the digital platforms from their homes.
In this article, we will help you know how to get free laptop from the government and options that you can pursue if you fail to qualify for the free government laptop.
Can I Get a Free Laptop From The Government
Yes, but only if you come from a low-income family. People with a reliable income level as per their lifestyle cannot qualify for the free government laptop program. On the other hand, people or students from a low-income family and underprivileged in the society can qualify for the free laptop program. Nonetheless, the government has put in strict measures to ensure only those who cannot afford to buy a laptop can qualify for the free laptop program.
Basically, you will need to meet a few requirements to qualify for the free laptop. You can get a free government laptop if you earn less than $34000 per year and have an employment support services card. Other requirements you may need include a low-income home energy assistance program card and freelance facilities in the school for students between 7 and 14 years.
How To Get Free Laptop From The Government
It is possible to get a free laptop from the government if you have an income of less than $34000 and/or meet other eligibility criteria. That said, some people even those who qualify for the program get lost on how to get free laptop from the government. Where do you apply to get the free laptop? You can use the government benefit services or nonprofit organizations to apply for the laptop.
The first place you should look when you need to get a free laptop from the government is the department of social and health services. The department will provide you with a free computer from the government or non-profit organizations. You may also consider getting assistance with natural disasters, especially if you are a victim of a natural disaster.
Furthermore, you can check with states, nonprofit organizations, and other organizations that offer discounts on laptops if you fail to qualify for the free government laptop. Nonetheless, you will still need to meet the qualification criteria to get a free laptop with the other parties. Most NGOs require applicants to qualify for government benefit programs like food programs, property subsidies, Medicaid, and rental assistance.
Where Can I Get a Free Laptop
You can get a free laptop from the government through the social services department or from nonprofit organizations. The application for a free laptop through social services is highly competitive due to the high number of applications, which means some people who need the free computer may fail to get the free government laptop.
Nonetheless, you should not despair if you fail to get a free computer from the social department. Instead, you should apply through nonprofit organizations on this list, but you must meet their eligibility.
1. PCS for People
Since its inception in 1998, the PCS for People helps families with low-income access to the digital world by availing low-cost computers and affordable internet. The organization has helped more than 155,000 people to get a home computer and over 165,000 people to access the internet. PCS for People is a good option if you need both a free laptop and low-cost internet.
The eligibility requirement for a free laptop through PCs for people includes photo identification and income documentation. You will need to provide proof of an income-based government assistance program like Food Support, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Alternatively, you have to provide documentation to show your income is below 200% of the federal poverty level.
The organization began in 2012 as a public awareness campaign and digital inclusion pilot to help connect all people in the United States. Since then, EveryoneOn nonprofit organization has helped over 890,000 people connect to the digital world with affordable computers and tablets and low-cost home internet service. The NGO further provides people with digital literacy training to help them apply for jobs and socialize with friends and relatives. EveryoneOn has partnered with the major cable and wireless ISPs to provide affordable internet solutions for low-income households.
3. Computers with causes
Computers with Causes is an NGO organization that helps people and students in low-income earning families get laptops and computers. It has been in operation for 16 years helping to bridge the technology divide in the US. Every day, Computer with Causes receives over 200 requests for computers and gives away over 21,000 computers annually. Anyone in need of a working computer can apply for a computer with Causes, but the organization’s main emphasis is on students, the elderly, struggling military families, disabled US veterans, shelters, teachers, and foster homes.
Smartriverside is an NGO firm that helps to bridge the digital divide in Riverside. Started in 2005, the organization won its first community project in 2006 from AT&T. The project was to build a city-wide WiFi network for public and private use with provision for free public use broadband infrastructure to help bridge the technology gap in the community. Since then, the company has expanded its community programs to touch the lives of almost all Riverside residents through its code to careers program. The program aims to introduce students to careers and possibilities in computer programming. SmartRiverside also works with partners to provide free laptops to families with low income and students who cannot afford to buy the latest technology.
The mission of Compudopt is to provide technology access and education to under-resourced youth and their communities. The program seeks to increase access to computers and facilitate growth in digital and technical skills among youths and communities. Since its inception, the NGO has served over 51,044 students and distributed over 48,688 computers. It has further offered over 191,908 technology training hours to help bridge the technology divide in the community.
6. Alliance for Technology Refurbishing $ Reuse (AFTRR)
While most nonprofit organizations that offer free laptops target specific communities, AFTRR is available nationally. You need to check their website to find the AFTRR member organization close to you and apply for a free laptop. The AFTRR member organizations vary widely in size, populations served, organizational model, staffing, and related resources. Nonetheless, every member organization seeks to eliminate the digital divide in their community as the ultimate goal.
Reboot empowers communities by providing computers to individuals and families that need them but cannot afford to purchase them. Since its inception in 2017, Reboot has donated over 209 full computer systems. The organization’s mission is to repair and recycle non-working computers and then donate them to organizations, families, and individuals who lack access to technology in Westchester County, NY. Reboot provides completely working desktop systems and laptops for school functions. The computers are selected randomly, but the minimum specifications you can get include Intel Core i3 2nd Gen, 4GB DDR3 RAM, and 300GB HDD.
ConnectAll understands the impact of the rapidly changing technology that keeps people buying new laptops every few years and the challenge for those who cannot afford technology as schools and institutions become digital. The organization seeks to bridge society’s digital gap through a program that encourages electronics re-use and recycling. ConnectAll refurbishes used computers and provides them to individuals and organizations that need technology. It also offers an eCommerce platform that provides affordable Internet and computers to low-income individuals.
9. Computer Technology Assistance Corps (CTAC)
CTAC (Computer Technology Assistance Corps) is a nonprofit firm that accepts technology donations from individuals and businesses. Once in their care, they wipe out data using HIPAA and DoD complaint methods before giving the laptops and computers to needy individuals and organizations at a small fee. Most full computer systems are available at a cost of between $75 and $125 while laptops cost from $160. You are eligible to get a laptop from the Computer Technology Assistance Corps if you are receiving some form of state or federal assistance like food stamps, WIC, and reduced school lunch. Other requirements include a low-income senior citizen, disabled, or below the poverty line.
Access to a functional computer and reliable Internet is a basic service we need on a daily basis to fill in government details, apply for jobs, and work on school assignments. With the cost of living increasing, many people, especially students are unable to afford a laptop. Luckily, the government through social services and NGOs offers free government laptops to low-income families and students to help bridge the digital gap in society.