For families struggling to make ends meet and feed hungry children who often find themselves missing school meals, the food stamps program can literally be a lifesaver.
The program dates back to the 1930s, but the recent history includes several updates and changes to meet the needs of those same families as they struggle to find their footing as the pandemic continues to play out. These changes include the ability to get a free tablet with food stamp program.
A bit of history is necessary here. The food stamps program, which is now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), has been modified to allow individual states to allow emergency supplemental benefits, and there are now programs that even offer free tablets under the umbrella of SNAP.
How Food stamps Or SNAP Works
The recent history of food stamps or SNAP starts with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of March 2020, which gave states the ability to modify assistance procedures to make it easier for families to either apply to join SNAP or continue to participate in the program.
This change in procedures contained several important modifications. Unemployed adults who are under the age of 50 and don’t have children living in their home no longer have a three-month time limit on their benefits, and access has been improved to include the ability to apply either online or via a telephone.
In addition, the lowest-income households in the SNAP program are now eligible for emergency allotments, and these allotments consist of at least $95.
States are allowed to continue to provide these emergency brand benefits as long as a public health emergency exists (i.e., the pandemic) and the individual state has issued a disaster or emergency declaration. The federal version of the public health emergency is likely to remain in place for the remainder of 2021, which will help families in trouble continue to receive their benefits and ride out the pandemic.
Many of these transactions are handled with an electronic benefit transfer (EBT), which is an electronic system similar to a debit card. It allows those participating in these programs to purchase products from retailers and use the card to pay directly for whatever they buy.
How Do I Qualify for the Foot Stamps SNAP Program?
Both individuals and households may be eligible for SNAP if their income is 130 percent of the federal poverty line or less.
As for the work requirements, those who work 30-80 hours a week are eligible for SNAP. Caregivers, students, people who are disabled or incapacitated and those in drug rehabilitation programs must work 30 hours a week. Adults from 18-49 who are able-bodied, not pregnant and don’t have dependents under 18 in their households must work, join warfare, volunteer or enter workforce training for 80 hours per month.
There are also resource limitations. Households may have up to $2250 in a bank account or another countable source. If one person in the household is over 60, the allowable amount goes up to $3500, but these requirements vary from state to state.
Immigrants are eligible if they have resided in the US for at least five years, or if they’re receiving disability-related assistance or have children who are under 18.
Low-income students may also be eligible for SNAP.
You’ll need to apply online or via application, and this process also varies depending on the state in which you live.
Is It Possible to Get a Free Tablet with the Food Stamps Program?
Yes! You’ll need to be a member of the Food Stamps SNAP program, and you can get the tablet through either Lifeline or the EBB program. These programs and the eligibility requirements are described in the “How Do I Qualify for the Foot Stamps SNAP Program” the sections that follow.
How Do You Get the Free Tablet with Food Stamps?
If you’re in the Food Stamps SNAP program, the best way to get a free or discounted laptop is to apply through Lifeline or EBB, so let’s look at how those programs work.
Simply put, Lifeline is a federal program designed to help reduce the monthly cost of phone or internet service for low-income households.
These programs differ by provider, but most offer services like free minutes, text messages and a specified amount of monthly data on a monthly basis, and some providers also offer discounted or free smartphones, tablets or laptops. These benefits are limited to one per household, however, and they’re considered non-transferable.
The EBB, meanwhile, is an FCC program that was created to temporarily help both households and individuals with affordable internet service if they’re struggling to maintain that during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This program discounts services like broadband by up to $50 a month, and that discount level goes up to $75 on Tribal lands. A one-time discount of up to $100 is also available to purchase an electronic device like a desktop computer, a laptop or tablet.
As for the free tablets, they aren’t available through all providers. Some only offer free or discounted broadband, so it’s important to read and understand the eligibility requirements laid out by individual provides.
Getting a Free Tablet with Food Stamps
One of the more intriguing changes to the SNAP program allows some of those who are either eligible or already participate in the program to receive free tablets.
Much has been made of this particular benefit, but there are some eligibility requirements to get a free tablet. Eligible SNAP participants must qualify as low income, which means their household income must be at 135 percent of the national poverty level or lower.
This level of eligibility also allows those who qualify to get free electronic devices, including Lifeline and the Emergency Broadband Benefits (EBB). This means these people can get either free or discounted wireless services, along with free or discounted devices, provided they apply for devices like tablets or laptops with Food Stamps and as eligible participants in the SNAP program.
Providers that Offer Government Free Tablets or Laptops
The providers that provide these devices include T Mobile, Q Link Wireless and Standup Wireless via the EBB or lifeline programs. The eligibility details differ for each provider.
Now let’s take a look at the providers that participate in this program. One of the best-known ones is T-Mobile, which participates in the EBB program and may provide a low-cost or free tablet to those eligible.
This eligibility differs according to individual states, and the tablet provided will either be the Alcatel Joy Tab 2 or a Moxee tablet.
Once again, there are eligibility restrictions for T-Mobile when applying for these tablets. Households must qualify for the Lifeline program, have an income at 135 percent of the national poverty level or less, participate in another government aid program like SNAP or Medicaid.
They also must have received a federal Pell Grant in the current year in which the tablet is given out, and they must have experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29th of 2020. The income level must be below $99K for those who file as singles, or $198K for those who file jointly. Finally, they must be on rate plan that is eligible to qualify.
Q Link Wireless is another provider that offers free tablets or laptops. Once again, participation in either SNAP or Medicaid is required, and the total household income must meet the Federal Poverty Guidelines in the individual states where participants live. They may also be eligible if they’re unemployed.
Standup Wireless provides tablets for a cost of $10.01 as a provider under the FCC’s EBB program. These laptops include unlimited talk and text along with 10 GB of data. Eligibility requirements include using the EBB program or Lifeline and using a federal benefits package such as SNAP or Medicaid.
Other Providers That offer free tablets for low income
Currently, T-Mobile and Q Wireless are the only two providers offering free tablets under the EBB or Lifeline programs, but there are plenty of other options, so let’s look at a few of the companies and organizations that may be able to provide this particular benefit.
Start with the Salvation Army. As unlikely as it seems, this non-profit organization that provides services and items for those in need also offers electronic devices such as laptops. There is income verification and an application process that goes with it, but once you’ve gone through the process you may be eligible for a free laptop. The information to do this can be found salvationarmy.org.
World Computer Exchange
The World Computer Exchange is another possibility. This program works with both the government and an assortment of non-profits to provide computers and free internet services to children and students, so they’re worth checking out.
Another organization dedicated to providing free tablets and laptops to those in need is Adaptive.Org. This organization services low-income individuals, students, veterans, the disabled and so on. To get a free device, though, 10 hours of community service will be required, but that’s a small price to pay for an essential device.
Similarly, Cty.Org provides discounted and free laptops and tablets to low-income individuals. The specific focus of this national organization is to help teachers, students and parents who are experiencing financial struggles, and Cty.Org can also help with internet services and software.
Everyoneon is yet another program that can help. The cutoff line is households that make an annual income of $35 or less, and this organization provides an impressive array of free services, including free internet, laptops and tablets. It even provides free tech-related courses for the unemployed.
Komputers 4 Kids
For struggling families, Komputers 4 Kids donates computers and tablets to children and students who are in need. The procedure is simple, too-just contact them and inquire about how to get a free tablet.
Now let’s look at what would seem to be another unlikely source-Microsoft. Microsoft Registered Refurbished is well-known for providing refurbished tablets, computers and laptops by simply donating them to both charities and low-income families. Given the company’s reach and reputation, it’s well worth taking the time to contact Microsoft about this particular program.
Don’t neglect local options, either. Let’s mention a couple-in Ohio, Technology Assisting People in Need does exactly what the name implies, offering free tablets and computers for the disabled as well as students and low-income households living in that state.
In Florida, the go-to company is the On It Foundation, which provides a similar array of free internet, laptops, tablets and courses and training programs to those low-income people who live in that state.
How Can a Free Tablet Benefit You?
Getting a free laptop as part of the Food Stamps SNAP program can ease the struggles associated with financial hard times. It helps families stay connected, stay in touch while working, look for better job opportunities and access the internet for many types of necessary information. It can also help with educational opportunities, accessing an online education, contacting emergency services for medical and other needs, and so on.
As you can see, there are many options when it comes to getting a free laptop via the Food Stamps SNAP program. These benefits are out there waiting for those who need them and are willing to take the time to make inquiries and go through the necessary processes, so if your situation falls under that heading don’t hesitate to get started.