New Mexico Human Services Department Is Spreading The Word About Emergency Broadband Benefit New Program

HSD News:

SANTA FE — The New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) announced Friday it is working to help build consumer awareness about the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program.

The temporary benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides a discount of up to a $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for qualifying households on qualifying Tribal lands.

The benefit also provides up to a $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider. 

A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of these criteria:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Emergency Broadband Benefit enrollment will begin (opened) May 12, 2021. Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) using an online or mail-in application. Additional information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available at  www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, or by calling 833-511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week.

The Human Services Department provides services and benefits to 1,022,395 New Mexicans through several programs including: the Medicaid Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Child Support Program, and several Behavioral Health Services.

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