Did you know that the federal government and other charitable organizations provide free laptops for low income families? If you need a laptop but cannot afford one, you are in the right place.
For a couple of years now, the government and like-minded charitable organizations have collaborated to ensure that the financially disadvantaged in society have the means to empower themselves technologically.
They have achieved this by coming up with programs that help donate and distribute digital devices such as laptops, tablets, and phones. The government understands that not everyone can afford a laptop even though they are important.
However, various restrictions have been set to ensure that only the disadvantaged can benefit from these programs. Please continue reading to learn more about these programs, their eligibility criteria, and the organizations that offer them.
What is EBB Program
What is the EBB program? And how does it relate to free laptops for low income families? The EBB is a program that the federal government started to help cushion low-income families and households from the high cost of internet services. They also provide cash discounts to each household to help them buy laptops, tablets, or desktops.
However, through its branch, the Federal Communication Commission, the federal government has set certain prerequisites that you have to meet to be EBB-eligible. These prerequisites are similar for all service providers in the country. Take a look at some of them:
What are Qualification Criteria for Free Laptops
How can you qualify for a free laptop from the government? The first thing you need to do is enroll in the EBB(Emergency Broadband Benefit) program. You can do this by contacting a service provider who participates in this program and applying.
1. Income-based Qualification
The government may grant you a free laptop through the EBB program if:
- Your family’s income or that of your household does not surpass 135% of the recommended federal poverty guidelines. For example, if you’re applying as a single person, your earnings should be less than $99,000 in a year. But for people who are applying jointly, their income should be less than $198,000.
- You may also qualify if you can prove that you lost your income source; for example, you were dismissed from work.
2. Government Assistance Programs qualification
You may be eligible for a free laptop from the government through the EBB program if you’re currently participating in any of the government-aided programs below:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
- Veterans Survivors and Pensions benefit program
- Tribal TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribal Head Start.
- Bureau of Indian Affairs(BIA) General Assistance Program.
3. Lunch Assistance Programs Qualification
Suppose you or any family member is currently getting assistance from the free and reduced-price school lunch program/ School breakfast program. In that case, you can meet the EBB eligibility criteria.
4. Pell Grant Qualification
Through the EBB program, free laptops for low-income families are also offered to individuals who were given the Federal Pell Grant within the year of application.
Some General Qualification Guidelines for EBB Program
Before you can enroll in the EBB program to receive a free laptop, there are some general guidelines that you should have in mind:
- You must have US citizenship: This program was only meant to benefit people who reside within the country. If you’re a legal immigrant, other programs and non-governmental organizations can help you get a good laptop.
- You must have attained the legal age: To benefit from the program, you have to be above 18 years. The only exception is for emancipated minors, in which case you will need to avail the documents proving it.
- You have no criminal records: Unfortunately, you cannot receive a free laptop if you have served time before or if there is a warrant for your arrest.
- Only one family member or member of your household can receive a free laptop at a go. The Federal Government set in place this policy to ensure that more families can benefit from this program.
What Do You Needed to Get a Free Laptop for Low-Income Families
A service provider can only prove that you are eligible for a free laptop if you give them your documents for verification. So what are some of these essential documents?
- Any document that can prove your identity, including an Identification Card or a passport.
- Documents that show you’re participating in a government-aided program, including benefit award letters, benefits statements, or an approval letter.
- A document showing how much income you or your family make in a year. These may include a recent paycheck from your employer, your social security benefits statement, or your pension statement or benefits.
- Documents that prove that your address is correct, including property tax receipts, utility bills, or lease agreements.
How Do You Apply For Free Laptops for Low-Income Families
The process for applying for free laptops for low income families is very simple. Here is a step by step guide:
- Search For A Service Provider Offering Free Laptops: The first thing you should do is choose a service provider from who you can apply for a free laptop. Luckily, several service providers participate in the EBB program. You can look them up on google and pick the one with good recommendations.
- Eligibility Check: Determine if you meet the qualification criteria of the service provider you have chosen. The criteria vary slightly for every service provider. You can go to each service provider’s site to look at the specifics.
- Apply For the Free Laptop: Once you’ve settled for a provider and determined that you’re eligible, send your application as per your service provider’s instructions. Most of them will need you to mail them or send them through email.
- Receive Your Free Laptop: Approved applicants will have their laptops mailed to them, so it is crucial that you give out the correct address. The time it will take to receive your laptop will vary from organization to organization.
Government Programs That Provide Free Laptops for Low-Income Families
The government always sets aside funds that it directs to programs that help low-income families get laptops. You have to qualify to get one, as mentioned above. Below are the best government sites to send your applications:
The government came up with this site primarily to assist victims of national disasters like wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis. These disasters usually destroy a huge chunk of people’s belongings; that is why the government steps in to help them rebuild their livelihood.
If you have suffered due to any of these disasters, go to the Disaster Assistance site, and you stand the chance of receiving a free laptop.
This is a federal government site that focuses on providing people with disabilities with tools they can use to change their lives. These include digital devices such as desktops and laptops. These devices enable them to continue working, studying, or researching without struggling.
If you live with a disability, this is the best site to visit for a free laptop. Just follow all their guidelines when applying for one.
Organizations That Provide Free Laptops
Aside from government-funded programs, many non-governmental organizations help to technologically empower people from low-income families and households. These organizations depend on donations from big tech companies and well-wishers to carry out their operations. Some of these organizations include:
The first organization on our list believes that everyone has the right to own a laptop if we are to achieve digital equity. Digitunity understands that you will need a functional computer to be productive in this era. They have aimed to distribute computers in their possession to the many low-income families that lack but need them.
Every year, they provide more than 300,000 free and discounted computers to the community. They can accomplish this by working with technology companies that donate the computers before refurbishing.
2. Jump On it
The Jump on It foundation is a charitable organization that distributes free laptops to low-income households with children in grades K-12. These students have to be enrolled in the free or reduced-price school lunch program. In addition, they have to be in a public school within the US.
This organization provides refurbished devices with up-to-date laptops for as low as $99. To top it off, they also train students from low-income families to be computer literate.
For the Jump On It foundation application process, parents of students needing a free laptop have to craft a request letter and send it to the organization. The letter should contain all the details of the students and a signature from the parent.
3. PCs For People
PCs for People is one of the best Non-governmental organizations leading the charge in filling the gap left by the non-uniform digital migration. Millions of Americans from low-income families are being left behind due to the high cost of technological devices such as laptops and computers. This is where PCs for People thrive.
They are renowned Microsoft refurbished who use their resources to repair worn-out computers before redistributing them to low-income people. What makes them stand out is that they also give you keyboards, power cords, and a mouse.
If you’re eligible, visit their site: PCs for People, to check out what they have in store.
4. Technology For The Future
This organization was founded in California to provide digital solutions to people in the United States and Canada. They are one of the few organizations on our list with youth at the helm. Their major focus lies in uplifting the lives of college students from low-income families.
What makes Technology for The Future special is its collaboration with big tech companies like Microsoft and Google. This collaboration has enabled them to receive laptop donations which they refurbish and help students who require them.
5. The World Computer Exchange
World Computer exchange was formed with the sole purpose of providing free computers to people in need. They have stations in more than 50 states to maximize their reach. They mainly serve low-income families, veterans, and children under foster care.
By asking the public for computer donations, they can get several devices to hand out to people free of charge.
The free laptops for low income families programs have helped transform the lives of many people. Hopefully, this article has guided you on how to obtain a fully functional free laptop from the government and other non-governmental organizations if you have been missing out.
Given that many organizations offer free laptops, you should always take your time before settling for one. You should also know that your application will be highly scrutinised to determine your eligibility, so you need to be patient before receiving your device. If your application is disapproved, try and apply again. Persistence is the key!
Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to find one is by googling organizations in your neighborhood that offer free laptops. You can also ask your friends or relatives if they know anyone who is giving away their laptop for free.
Yes, you can. Anyone enrolled in the food stamps program can qualify for a free laptop if they meet their qualifications guidelines.
Yes, they are! All the organizations mentioned above are legit, and so are the laptops they provide. Most of these organizations were formed with the sole intention of helping low-income families. However, it would help if you were careful as many fraudulent sites exist on the internet. Always carry out extensive research before contacting one.
Besides the government and non-governmental organizations, you can also search for ads on Craigslists. Many people place ads while disposing of their old laptops when they want to get an upgrade. You can also check sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for people willing to help you get a laptop.