The modern world is a tech-reliant world where everyone needs the support of it to have a better life. Access to technology has become essential for people of every age group and field.
However, acquiring electronic gadgets to access such technology can be difficult for many categories of people with weak financial backing. What if you can get a free government tablet that can bridge the digital gap between you and the rest of society?
The government of the United States has made it possible for people with financial barriers or difficulties to get a government-based tablet by following simple procedures and eligibility criteria. Want to know how?
Then this article is the right one for you! The procedure to apply, eligibility criteria, and benefits, in this article, you will get a precise and comprehensive guide to getting a free government tablet.
Free Government Tablet Program: What is it?
Before getting into the technicalities of the program and the related procedures and criteria, you should know the reason why it exists in the first place.
When Covid-19 was released into the world, we understood the value of technology. With technology, one can be self-sustaining in most aspects of their profession. However, not everyone can afford the price of acquiring the technology.
There is always the Digital Divide between the class of people who can afford modern facilities and technology of the world and those who cannot. To bridge this socio-economic gap, the U.S. government has launched many programs under its goal of ‘digital inclusion‘.
As a response to the pandemic, Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) was started by the government. It offered monthly discounts on internet services as the use of it had increased manifold during the COVID-19 time. At the end of 2021, the EBB program converted into the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). It was launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
It mainly provides broadband services at discounted prices to the people who are in actual need of it. Low-income households and tribal land populations may get monthly discounts from $30-$75 based on their eligibility.
The tablets that you will receive under the ACP support depend upon the availability, the institution you apply to, and the state you reside in. You as a customer cannot choose or specify the tablet or the specifications of the tablet which you will be getting.
1. Federal Programs for Free Government Tablets:
- ConnectED Initiative: To improve access to technology in schools, these initiatives team up with private companies to make tablets and other electronic gadgets accessible to eligible educational institutions.
- State and localities-based programs are also available which provide tablets to their citizens to complete certain criteria prescribed by it. You can check the official websites of the state to check your eligibility.
- Lifeline Programs: These programs, administered by the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC), provide access to the Internet, smartphones, and in some cases tablets at a discount or free of charge to low-income people.
2. Features of ACP Tablet:
Normally government-provided tablets come with all the necessary features like a webcam, microphone, Wi-Fi capabilities, and music system.
The free government tablet comes with internet access. This gives ample opportunities to connect with government programs, learn from educational institutions online, and be up to date with government programs.
Email management is yet another benefit of this tablet which you can avail. There is an email-based app that enables you to connect with professional as well as personal contacts. All in all ACP tablets are very useful in every basic aspect of an electronic gadget.
Eligibility to Get the Free Tablet:
There are various ways through which you can get a free government tablet. The eligibility criteria for this program have been expanded in such a way that every person in need of this program will get the benefit of it despite any category he belongs to.
There are two types of eligibility rules that you need to fulfill to get the free tablet and they are described here below:
1. General Eligibility Criteria:
Firstly some eligibility criteria are nonspecific and are the same for every class of person. These criteria are placed in such a way that every citizen can get the benefit of the program. Before filing for the program you must be;
- Over 18 years of age.
- If you are a minor, you must be emancipated.
- Should be a citizen of the U.S. state legally from which you apply for the ACP tablet program.
2. Specific Eligibility Criteria:
Different qualifications are very specific for this program. You should also check if you come under any of these specific criteria. These criteria are based on location, educational status, income level, and government program memberships.
1. Eligibility based on the income level:
As per the latest guidelines under ACP, your annual family income must fall at 200% or less of the federal poverty guidelines. You have to be a citizen of a state where the ACP-selected providers give their services.
If you qualify for all these criteria, then getting the free tablet becomes easy for you. All it takes is for you to submit your income tax return for the year and you will get the approval under the ACP easily.
NOTE: Federal Poverty Guidelines explain the benefit based on income level which an individual or family can get from the government. It is published by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
2. Eligibility based on government program participation:
There are many governmental programs also through which you can get the benefit of the ACP scheme of the government. Some of them are listed below.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Food Stamps.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans Pension or Survivors’ Benefit Programs
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) General Assistance
- Tribal Head Start
All of these are lifeline programs. If you are already a part of any one of these government programs it becomes easier for you to qualify for the ACP. Under these programs, you can get tablets at a very subsidized rate from the government. The subsidized rate is generally $10 or below that for low-income families.
3. Eligibility based on specific qualifications:
If you live in a certain locality or state of the U.S.A. the chances of getting a free tablet are also good for you. Many organizations give state-based programs benefits to its citizens and one of those benefits can be the free tablet also.
Some programs cater to seniors, veterans, individuals with disabilities, or other specific demographics. Some government programs supply students or universities with free tablets. If you are a student or teacher, explore programs that meet the needs you have.
What is the procedure to get a free ACP tablet?
The procedural aspect of getting a free government tablet under the ACP program is very easy. There are different steps in the procedure of getting the tablet for free.
Now we will explain in detail all the steps to get the benefit of the ACP under different categories. There are further sub-divisions under these steps to apply for the ACP tablet easily are efficiently and they are described below:
There are two ways in which you can apply for the ACP free tablet by the government. One is through the government and the other one is by directly contacting the ACP providers in your locality or state. The modes you can do the same can be online or offline as per your convenience.
1. Online Mode:
You can apply for the ACP free government tablet in two ways via online mode. The first is by going to the main website of USAC and the second option is by visiting your local ACP tablet provider’s website directly.
1. Through the direct USAC website:
- Open the official government website of the ACP.
- The website provides information about eligibility, procedures, document requirements, and available benefits.
- Select your type of category.
- Fill in all the essential details in your category of form.
- Apply, and your application will be submitted.
2. Through the ACP providers directly:
- First, you have to find the providers of free tablets on this page under the ACP in your area.
- Select your state of residence.
- Now look at the available(marked with a ‘tick’) providers in your area under the ‘offering connected devices’ heading.
- If you find a suitable provider, go to its official website form to fill out the application form.
- Fill in the application form and submit it.
By going through any of these websites, you can easily apply for the free tablet without going anywhere and at a very fast speed. You can also contact the customer support numbers or helpline numbers in case of any issues while filling out these forms.
2. Offline Mode:
You can also apply through an offline mailing method for your free government tablet. It is an easy procedure which is described below:
- Visit the official ACP government website and take the printout of the specific application form of your category for the program.
- Fill in the details by hand in your application form.
- Attach all the necessary copies of documents with the application form.
- Attach your household worksheet with the form (USAC strongly recommends it).
- Send the application form to the registered ACP office in your area at ACP Support Center, PO Box 9100, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773.
3. Application for lifeline program subscribers:
If you are registered with any of the lifeline programs of the government already, the application process gets even easier for you. You can just contact your lifeline program provider about the available ACP benefit for you and apply for it through him only.
You can also separately reach out to your internet service provider to check their participation in the ACP and available benefits.
What is the Document Procedure?
Documents submission is a crucial step to enrolling yourself in ACP support. The type of documents you will need to apply will depend upon your eligibility. Also, the organization you are applying to will decide the list of documents you will require to submit and attach in form of copies your application form.
There is a dedicated website available on the main website of USAC where the list of all the documents or ‘tools’ required for ACP support for free tablets is available. It has guidelines in different languages such as Spanish and English and specifically mentions the documents necessary not to submit program and category-wise specifically.
Now we will briefly list the different kinds of documents available under different programs for ACP support.
1. Documents for federal lifeline scheme beneficiaries:
You must provide documents supporting your enrollment in the federal government benefit plans. They can be:
- Approval letter from the government
- Statement of benefits that you are receiving
- Benefit verification letter
- Benefit award letter by the government
2. Documents for income-based eligibility:
If you are availing of this benefit under income-based eligibility, you have to show your income proofs showing your income to be equal to or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines. The documents to support this claim are mentioned below:
- Your recent statement of income from your employer.
- Tribal or a federal notice letter showing your participation in the General Assistance Program.
- Retirement or pension statement of benefits that you receive
- A Veteran Administration statement of benefits in case you are a veteran
- The previous year’s state, federal, or tribal tax return for historical records.
- Your Social Security statement of benefits
- An Unemployment/Workmen’s Compensation statement of benefits
3. General Documents:
These are general documents that are of importance as well as are also required to establish basic general information regarding your identity, address, etc. You may also have to give the documents mentioned below:
- Contact information
- Your contact-related information
- Your specific eligibility proof document.
- Your income proof document.
- Student-based data in the case of a student and educator-based data in the case of an educator.
- Your residential proof along with your household worksheet.
4. Document for Disabled Persons:
In the case of disabled beneficiaries, the documents should be provided by the government to the ACP provider about the verified disability of the person.
Don’t Miss the follow-up procedure!
Keep up with the deadline dates and notifications relating to your AC program application. You need to keep a check on the confirmation status of your application and other procedures relating to it.
After all this, all you need to do is note down the instructions once your application is approved and wait patiently for your free government tablet to arrive. You also have to be well aware of the pick-up points of your free tablet and collect it whenever it is available for you there.
List of ACP Free Tablet Providers 2023
There are many providers in this program which are providing free or very low-cost tablets. We have mentioned about few prominent ones here below:
1. Unity Wireless:
Unity Wireless Company provides internet-based devices like tablets and smartphones and also provides internet facilities. It is a part of the federal ACP scheme and provides its customers with low-income, disabilities, state-based schemes, free tablets, and electronic devices. You can visit the official website of the company and apply for the free tablet by entering your basic details like contact, age, and ZIP code.
Once your application is submitted and verified by the National Verifier website, you will get a confirmation notification. Stay updated with your tablet’s delivery status, and then you will receive your free ACP tablet by Unity Wireless Telecommunications.
This a very renowned company and one of the biggest Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). It provides ACP facilities to eligible customers and provides tablets and smartphones free of cost or at very low affordable prices.
3. Qlink Wireless:
This is a Florida-based, American company and has the main motive to provide its customers with wireless telecommunications services.
It is also a part of the government ACP scheme and distributes free tablets to its eligible customers using the federal lifeline programs. More information can be known about this website through its official website
To conclude, tablets as electronic device are a very reliable asset and is useful for many types of functions. These gadgets allow users to connect with others, obtain information, and enhance their digital capabilities, thereby reducing the technological gap and promoting inclusion in our society.
The affordability issue was the biggest hindrance in this matter. The free government tablet program is a great initiative to bridge the digital gap and improve your use of tech.
When you own a device, you can make the best use of it through inquiry into cheap or free access to the internet, academic material, and online literacy courses. If you found this article useful, do share it with your friends and whosoever you know who requires this government program of free tablets.
- Free Government Tablet: How to Apply And Get Yours Easily? - November 17, 2023