No matter your age, you need access to the internet. Here are some ways for seniors to get access to the web for affordable rates without major limitations or traveling to the library.
Lots of places offer free internet these days, but it means a trip to the library or mall. This is fine sometimes, but it’s not practical all the time, such as late at night, early in the morning, or when you are doing your taxes or researching a financial decision and need to be home.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a internet support program known as Lifeline, which helps seniors with internet and telephone services. This isn’t low cost internet on its own, but qualifying seniors can get $92.5 off their internet bill each month.
To quality people will need to be part of an approved government program, like SSI, SNAP, Medicaid, or a Veterans benefits program. Your income will need to be under 135% than the federal poverty guidelines in order to get this assistance.
You will need to get your internet through an eligible internet service provider, which can be found here. Some major providers, like Verizon, use this program for telephone service, but not internet, so you’ll have to hunt for a qualifying company.
Nationwide mobile carrier and phone giant AT&T offers discount senior internet connectivity through their Access program. Prices will generally range from $5-10 but not all people will be able to participate.
You can check for access in your access by going to AT&T’s Access main page and then selecting a qualifying program that you are participating in, namely SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or California’s SSI (Supplemental Security Income).
If you are interested in a mobile plan — which can work as home internet with a mobile hotspot — AT&T also offers discounts to AARP members and people who are living in Florida and are over the age of 55 through their AT&T Unlimited 55+ plan.
Internet service provider Spectrum’s senior low cost internet plan is Spectrum Internet Assist.
To qualify for this low cost internet seniors will need to be over the age of 65 and to be part of an SSI (Supplemental Security Income) program. If eligible, seniors will receive 30 Mbps internet speed, a free modem, uncapped internet usage, and no long-term contract. WiFi is not included with the package but can be purchased for an additional $5 per month.
If you live in a Comcast area, then you can look into the Comcast Internet Essentials program. This program offers low cost computers and internet to eligible people, including some seniors.
For $9.95 a month you can get the Internet Essentials internet plan, which includes WiFi and a 25 Mbps (megabit per second) internet connection with no long-term contract.
You can also get a cheap or free computer and internet training courses if necessary.
The main eligibility criteria for this program include living in a Comcast area, being part of a participating public assistance program, not having been a Comcast customer in the last 3 months, and having no previous money owed to Comcast.
- Is SSI the same as Social Security benefit programs?
No, most internet providers have specific benefits for people on Supplement Security Income (SSI) but they differentiate between this program and programs like Social Security Disability (SSD), Social Security Retirement and Survivor Benefits (SSRSB), and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).