What Is the Difference Between Straight Talk ACP and EBB?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a now-expired government assistance program that was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was designed to help households struggling to afford internet services during the pandemic. It provided a discount of up to $50 a month toward broadband service and $75 for eligible households on Tribal lands. Through certain EBB providers, eligible households were also able to receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
As EBB proved to be vital for millions of Americans, the government has decided to modify and extend the program. Therefore the EBB program has transformed into the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides similar benefits to eligible households. The one-time device discount and the monthly broadband discount for Tribal households have remained the same. However, the monthly discount on internet services for non-Tribal households has been reduced to $30 a month. In addition, the eligibility criteria have changed slightly.
How Do I Replace My Straight Talk EBB Benefit ACP if I am Already Receiving EBB?
Customers and households that have enrolled in the EBB program prior to December 31, 2021 (the date when the EBB program was replaced by the ACP program), continued to receive their full EBB monthly benefits during a 60-day transition period until March 1, 2022. After March 1, 2022, no household is able to receive the EBB benefit, but they can, however, receive the new ACP benefits.
Most former EBB households didn’t have to take any action to continue receiving the new $30 a month ACP benefit after March 1, 2022. Most former EBB subscribers also qualify for the new ACP program, as such, they may only be asked to reapply.
However, certain EBB and ACP eligibility criteria differ slightly. For example, income-based eligibility has shifted to having an income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and receiving WIC benefits is a new eligibility criteria. Also, the following eligibility criteria no longer qualify:
- Experiencing a substantial loss of income as a result of a job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020
- Meeting the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s COVID-19 program
Customers who no longer meet the eligibility criteria will be required to requalify for the ACP.
Regardless of whether they still or no longer qualify, former EBB subscribers have already been notified by their EBB providers if they needed to take any additional steps in order to continue receiving the ACP benefits.
Does Straight Talk Offer ACP Benefits?
Straight Talk, a popular no-contract phone plan service owned by TracFone Wireless used to participate in the now-expired Emergency Broadband Benefit or EBB program.
However, on December 31, 2021, the EBB program has expired and has been replaced by the new, long-term ACP program. Most former EBB providers now offer the ACP benefit, however, some wireless providers (such as T-Mobile) have decided not to participate in the new ACP program but to leave this important task to some other subsidiary or affiliate companies.
As the majority of former EBB providers now offer ACP benefits, it may be safe to assume that Straight Talk also does. Unfortunately, however, Straight Talk hasn’t officially confirmed whether or not they will participate in the ACP program. In addition, according to their outdated website, they still offer the EBB benefits, which is, of course, impossible, as the EBB was a government-funded and managed program and is now no longer available. Therefore, there is unfortunately no straight answer to whether or not Straight Talk participates in the ACP program. To find out more details, we suggest you contact the company’s customer support service and ask about their ACP participation in your state of residence.
What are the Qualification Procedures for Straight Talk ACP for Newbies?
Assuming that Straight Talk does offer the ACP benefits and it simply failed to update its website, most of Straight Talk’s former EBB subscribers automatically qualify for the ACP program and have already enrolled. However, new customers will have to join the new Straight Talk ACP program from scratch. Now, you may be wondering how to do so.
If you wish to enroll in the Straight Talk ACP or an ACP program from another provider, you must follow the simple instructions below:
- Make sure you are a resident of one of the states where the provider offers ACP benefits. To find out if and where Straight Talk offers ACP benefits, contact the company’s customer service.
- Make sure you are ACP-eligible. You can see the ACP eligibility criteria in the section ‘How Do I Qualify for the Straight Talk ACP Program?’.
- Collect the required documents that may prove your eligibility. You may be asked to provide some of those documents during the application process. See the list of required documents in the section ‘What Documents Are Required for the Straight Talk ACP?’.
- Apply for the Straight Talk ACP program. Find out how and where to apply in the section ‘Where to Apply for the Straight Talk ACP?’.
- Assuming that Straight Talk in fact offers ACP benefits, you will then be able to enjoy them. You can see the list of predicted Straight Talk ACP benefits in the section ‘What Are the Benefits if I Qualify for Straight Talk ACP?’.
If, however, it turns out during the application process that you are ACP-eligible but that you are currently unable to apply for the Straight Talk ACP, you can always contact another ACP provider in your state of residence. See the list of all officially confirmed ACP providers by the state at fcc.gov/affordable-connectivity-program-providers.
How Do I Qualify for the Straight Talk ACP Program?
To qualify for the Straight Talk ACP or an ACP program from any other provider, you must be ACP-eligible. ACP eligibility criteria are determined by the FCC, therefore they are universal for all ACP programs.
A household is ACP-eligible if one of its members meets at least one of the following criteria:
- A household has a gross total household income of 200% of the federal poverty level.
- A household member receives assistance from a qualifying government-supported program, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), or Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit.
- A household member receives assistance from a qualifying Tribal assistance program, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, or Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard).
- A household member is a Lifeline program member.
- A household has received an award on a federal Pell grant in the current academic year.
- A household has the approval to receive the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program through the USDA community eligibility provision in the last three school years.
- A household member qualifies for participating in any other provider’s low-income program.
Note: The ACP benefit is limited to one per eligible household. The benefit cannot be transferred to any other household or household member, even if eligible.
What Documents are Required for the Straight Talk ACP
Straight Talk ACP benefits, assuming that the company does offer them, will be limited to ACP-eligible low-income households. Therefore, it is vital to attach certain documents that prove your eligibility during the application process. Depending on your eligibility criteria, some of those documents may include:
- If you qualify through your total annual household income, you must provide an official, unexpired document that proves your financial status and includes your full legal name and your annual income. Such documents include a current income statement from your employer, a paycheck stub, a prior year’s state, federal, or Tribal tax return, a Social Security statement of benefits, unemployment or worker’s compensation statement of benefits, retirement or pension statement of benefits, divorce decree, child support award, etc.
- If you qualify through your participation in a qualifying assistance program, you should attach some official documents that prove your participation. You can attach an approval document, such as an approval letter, benefit award letter, benefit verification letter, statement of benefits, etc. Make sure the document is unexpired and includes your full legal name, the name of the program, the name of the establishment that issued the document, and an issue date within the last 12 months or a future expiration date.
- In addition, you may be required to attach copies of documents that prove your identity, physical address, and/or age. For example, a passport, a valid government, military, state, or Tribal ID, U.S. driver’s license, birth certificate, permanent resident card or Green Card, utility bill, most recent W-2 or tax return, etc.
To participate, you must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor. Therefore, emancipated minors must also provide an official document proving their emancipated minor status, such as a court document or a certificate of emancipation.
Where to Apply for the Straight Talk ACP?
Again, assuming that Straight Talk indeed offers ACP discounts in your state of residence, there are several options for you to apply for the program.
One way is to apply directly through the National Verifier online at checklifeline.org/lifeline/?id=nv_flow&ebbp=true or at acpbenefit.org. Go to the application form and fill it out by providing all the required information and documentation. Once you do so, you can use the locator tool to check the ACP providers near you and choose the one that best fits your needs. Contact the provider to select a plan and have the discount applied to your bill. You can also print out a mail-in application.
If Straight Talk ACP is available in your area, you can also apply directly on their website, perhaps at straighttalk.com/ebb, if the link will work at your location. If it does, you can provide your personal information and documentation here. If you have any questions, you can contact the provider’s customer service.
Additionally, you can apply by mail. In this case, print out an application, fill it out manually, add your eligibility proof copies (make sure not to submit originals), and send them to Straight Talk’s physical address.
What are the Benefits if I Qualify for Straight Talk ACP?
As Straight Talk didn’t confirm its participation in the ACP program, it is difficult to discuss any Straight Talk ACP benefits for certain.
Nevertheless, one thing is certain. If Straight Talk actually offers ACP benefits, eligible customers can expect to receive a discount on monthly internet services of up to $30.
In addition, the benefits may be similar that the ones Straight Talk used to offer through its EBB program:
- A free monthly phone service with:
- Free unlimited data
- Free unlimited talk and text
- Free 10 GB of hotspot data
- The opportunity to keep your device and number
Read more about the potential benefits at straighttalk.com/ebb. To confirm that the provider offers any such benefits in your area, contact Straight Talk’s customer support service.
Moreover, by enrolling in the Straight Talk ACP, you will get to enjoy the company’s reliable and quality services, which include:
- Reliable call services
- Access to a nationwide network
- Streaming quality, high-speed data
- No contracts
- No hidden fees
- Regular deals on plans and cell phones (both older and newer models)
- Auto-refill discounts
See the company’s discounted and potentially free plans at straighttalk.com/all-plans. Contact the company’s customer service to check which ones are eligible for the ACP benefits.
What to Do if I am Not Qualified for the Straight Talk ACP After Completing this Process?
In case Straight Talk doesn’t participate in the ACP program (or at least not in your state of residence), if you are not a resident of one of the states where the provider offers its services, or if you are otherwise not qualified for the Straight Talk ACP after completing the application process described above, there are certain other things you can try.
First, you can try to apply for another ACP program from another provider. Keep in mind that the provider must offer ACP benefits in your state of residence and that you must be ACP-eligible in order to receive the discount. See the list of ACP providers by the state at fcc.gov/affordable-connectivity-program-providers.
Secondly, you can check out carrier deals to get a discount on either phone or wireless service plans or connected devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.).
If you are a member of a low-income household, you can also try receiving discounted services and devices from a non-profit organization or a charity, such as Adaptive.Org, Causes, Computers for Learning, EveryoneOn, Komputers 4 Kids, On It Foundation, Smartriverside, The Salvation Army, World Computer Exchange, etc. You can also ask at your local church, school, or library.
To receive a free internet connection, you can do so through an antenna, a satellite, via NetZero or FreedomPop, by setting up a mesh network, or by accessing free public internet or school district internet for students.
Does Straight Talk Offer Any Discounts for Low Income People Other than ACP?
Straight Talk offers several discounts and special deals for its esteemed customers, including the EBB/ACP discounts and promotional codes on plans and devices. However, the company does currently not offer special discounts for students, military personnel, or senior citizens.
Still, you can receive some benefits by trying the following options:
- Investigate payment options: Straight Talk offers different monthly payment options. Review them and pick the one that best fits your needs.
- Check out Straight Talk deals: Go to straighttalk.com/deals/all-deals and review the deals that are currently offered by the provider. Finding a special deal on a plan or a device may save you lots of money. Also, make sure to check out refurbished devices that are much more affordable, to begin with.
- Bring your own device: Straight Talk also offers the option to bring your own phone, which will save you the expenses of buying a new one. As such, if you have a phone that you love, you can confirm its compatibility, pay the activation fee, receive the activation kit or SIM card, activate the device, and enjoy the provider’s services at a lower cost.
Straight Talk ACP Related FAQs
What Is the Straight Talk ACP?
Straight Talk ACP or Affordable Connectivity Program is a government-funded assistance program that provides eligible customers with free or discounts on monthly internet service. Straight Talk’s participation in the ACP program is, however, not yet confirmed.
Why Choose Straight Talk ACP?
You may wish to apply for the ACP from Straight Talk simply because the provider offers some nice perks, such as receiving free wireless services, enjoying the quality and reliable phone and wireless services, no contracts, no early termination fees, responsive customer service, etc.
Straight Talk ACP Service is Offered in Which Area?
It is currently unknown in which areas Straight Talk offers ACP benefits and if the provider participates in the government assistance program at all. To find out more, contact the company’s customer service.
How Long Does It Take to Get Approval for Straight Talk ACP Benefits?
The company will try to send you an approval notification within 48 hours of applying.
How Do I Check the Status of My Straight Talk Affordable Connectivity Program Application?
You will receive a notification email or you can sign in to your online account and check there.
What Are the Restrictions for Straight Talk Affordable Connectivity Program?
There are several Straight Talk ACP restrictions, including that the benefit is limited to one per eligible household, that it is non-transferable, that you can only receive the benefit from one provider at a time, that you will notify the company within 30 days in case you no longer qualify for the program, that you will use the benefit at least once a month, etc.