Straight Talk is a reliable wireless service provider whose parent company is Tracfone. It is among the few companies partnered with the government to help lower the cost of internet services for financially constrained people.
The company achieved this through the Straight Talk Emergency Broadband Benefit program. This program assisted several people severely impacted by the effects of Covid-19 to access broadband services. As a result, they could continue working, schooling, and communicating with their loved ones.
Straight Talk requires customers to join their EBB program if they would like to reduce their internet expenses. However, there are specific eligibility criteria that you have to satisfy first. All the details about the EBB Straight Talk are discussed in this article.
What Is Straight Talk Emergency Broadband Benefit
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a Federal Government program implemented at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic to make broadband services affordable. Many people were laid off, while others lost their businesses, making it impossible to settle their internet bills.
However, by collaborating with like-minded organizations such as Straight Talk in the EBB program, the Federal Government was able to subsidize internet costs for low-income persons. The EBB offered $50 monthly discounts to people who did not reside in tribal lands to help them cover internet costs.
On the other hand, it provided $75 monthly discounts to people who reside in Tribal lands to help them cater to the same. In addition, it gave out a one-time discount of $100 that could be used to buy tablets, desktops, and computers.
The Straight Talk Emergency Broadband Benefit program was scheduled to end on December 31, 2021. Consequently, the Affordable Connectivity Program replaced it.
Difference Between The EBB and ACP
The Affordable Connectivity Program came in as the successor of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. It was constituted to carry out a similar mandate to its predecessor but for the long haul. There is a slight distinction between the EBB and ACP. Below are some of the changes that the Federal Communication Commission made:
- First, the ACP reduced monthly discounts for people who do not reside in Tribal lands from $50 to $30. Luckily, for people living in Tribal lands, the $75 monthly discount remained unaltered.
- Your level of earnings should not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for the Affordable Connectivity Program. This threshold increased from the 135% required for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program.
The Federal government provided a leeway until March 1, 2022, for all EBB program members to transition to the ACP. EBB members will continue receiving monthly benefits, but with the changes being effected.
Eligibility Criteria For The Straight Talk EBB Program
The Straight Talk Emergency Broadband Benefit has specified who can qualify for the program based on a few guiding criteria. This is to ensure that all the beneficiaries of the program are genuine. Here are some of the guidelines:
1. Loss of Work
The FCC states that people who were laid off or had taken a leave of absence since February 29, 2020, could send their application for the EBB program. To be accepted into the EBB Straight Talk program, you will need to present documents validating your loss of work/ leave of absence claim. Additionally, your total earnings should not have surpassed $99,000.
2. An Acceptable Income Level
Only households with total earnings that do not surpass 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines can be considered for the EBB Straight Talk program. These Guidelines change depending on the number of members in your household.
The more members in your household, the higher the guidelines will be, and vice versa. Every applicant will need to bring out documents that will act as a verification of the total amount of earnings that they receive. Some examples include W2 forms, tax returns, and pay stubs.
3. Membership In The Lifeline Program
The Lifeline program, which began in 1985, was established to help Americans to pay for their phone services. Any member of the Federal Lifeline program is guaranteed a direct entry into the Straight Talk Emergency Broadband Benefit program.
You can decide to forfeit the EBB or Lifeline program or enjoy both of them simultaneously. If you’re already a member of the Lifeline program, contact Straight Talk at 1-877-430-2355 for more information on enrolling in their EBB program.
4. Children and Dependents
All your children or dependents will automatically qualify for the EBB straight Talk once you are accepted into the program. They can also enjoy benefits such as unlimited texts and free minutes. Moreover, if any of your children or dependents currently participate in the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch/Breakfast Program, then your household can sign up for the EBB Straight Talk.
5. Government Assistance Programs Membership
Several government assistance programs can make you eligible for the Emergency Broadband Straight Talk program. You will need to provide irrefutable proof that you participate in any of them. They Include:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance(FPHA)
- Supplemental Security Income(SSI)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit Program
- Federal Pell Grant awarded in the present year
- Free School Breakfast Program or Reduced-price School Lunch Program
Tribal Programs that will make you eligible:
- Tribal Head Start
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families( Tribal TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations(FDPIR)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance(BIA)
How Can You Apply For The Straight Talk EBB
You can no longer apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit since it was concluded on December 30, 2021. Instead, you can opt for its successor, the Straight Talk Affordable Connectivity Program. There are three ways you can do it, depending on which one you find to be simpler:
- Visit the Affordable Connectivity Program application page provided by the Federal Communications Commission. Using their online search tool, locate the provider closest to you and choose Straight Talk from the list of options. Get in touch with Straight Talk and join their services.
- If you’re not a fan of the online application procedure, you can opt to apply through mail. However, you will first need to download an application form from the Straight Talk website, fill it out and send it to this address: PO Box 7081 London, KY 407742.
- Lastly, you can call one of Straight Talk’s Customer representatives at 1-833-343-8322, and they will assist you in applying for the EBB program.
If you decide to take the online route in your application process, below are some of the steps that you can follow:
- Step 1: Visit the Straight Talk Affordable Connectivity Program page and check out the qualification guidelines they have laid down. Continue to the next step if you meet any of them.
- Step 2: Fill out an online application form with your Zip code and email address, followed by your personal details.
- Step 3: Upload photos of the documents that prove your eligibility and attach them to your application form. Submit the form to complete the application process.
- Step 4: Your application will be assessed to determine the authenticity of the documents and details you provided. After that, Straight Talk will notify you if you’re eligible to receive EBB benefits.
How To Check The Status Of Your Straight Talk EBB Application
Straight Talk will contact you immediately if you’ve been accepted into their EBB program if you have completed all the steps mentioned above. They will also reach out if they need you to provide more documents for verification.
If they don’t, you can check the status of your application by visiting the emergency Broadband official page.
Restrictions Of The Straight Talk Emergency Broadband Benefit
The Straight Talk Emergency Broadband Benefit doesn’t come without its limitations. Below are some of them:
- Only a single household member can enjoy the benefits of EBB at a particular time.
- The one-time $100 discount cannot be used to buy devices such as phones. You are only limited to desktops, tablets, and laptops.
- You will have to dig into your pocket if the cost of the device or service you’re getting exceeds the monthly discount/ one-time discount you’re receiving.
- EBB benefits cannot be transferred to another person, even if it is your family member. However, you can switch them to a different service provider.
Why Choose Straight Talk Emergency Broadband Benefit
There are many reasons why you should consider applying for the EBB Straight talk. The most obvious ones include:
- You get free unlimited data
- Unlimited talking and texting
- You get up to 10GB of hotspot data that is shareable among friends and family
- Seamless internet connectivity
- The program offers a $100 one-time discount which can be used to purchase devices such as tablets and laptops. You can even get tablets without having to pay. This will help you keep up with all the emerging digital trends.
The Bottom Line
The Straight Talk EBB helped many households to recover from the economic recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic by providing free phone and internet services. This enabled them to continue their business, work, and school activities.
The program was disbanded in December 2021 to give way to the ACP. You can go to Straight Talk’s online page if you want to continue receiving benefits from the ACP.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it does. Straight Talk offers rewards to existing customers, enabling them to enjoy free service each month. Check out their rewards program by logging into your account and going to the rewards page. You can also text “Rewards” to 611611.
The EBB Straight Talk program enables new and existing customers to receive discounts on their internet services bills. It also issues $100 discounts to help customers struggling with finances to purchase tablets.
You’ll have to subscribe to their emails to get a promo code from Straight Talk. This way, the promo code will be sent to your email whenever they run any promotions or have new deals.
You can reach Straight Talk Customer service representatives at 1-877-430-2355 if you need help.