Low cost internet for the elderly

These days, it’s not easy to get people to agree on anything. If I said the water is wet I’m sure you could find 3 out of 10 people to say I’m crazy – “Everyone knows the water is dry!” And you would definitely get a wide variety of opinions if you asked if the internet is good or bad. But what cannot be denied is the importance of being connected to the Internet.

According to surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center, 75% of people aged 65 and over use the Internet, and 64% of seniors use their broadband connection at home to do so. These numbers have steadily increased over the past decade, and they have become even more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic, as in-person gatherings have been avoided for FaceTime, Zoom, and other tools. video chat.

The need to be online is acute, but all too often the price to be connected can be high – and a particular problem if you’re a fixed income retiree. How to find a cheap internet for seniors? We’re glad you asked. Here are some ideas.

If you qualify for government assistance, you could save hundreds of dollars on the Internet from home each year.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Start with some useful government programs

Unlike your local restaurant, Internet service providers do not really offer discounts for seniors. There are certainly some ISP-specific offerings worth exploring (and we’ll talk about them in a moment), but your best bet is to take advantage of federal programs first. Two come to mind – one has been in existence since 1985 and the other is a temporary policy that has just been put in place in 2021.

You should start your research with Safety rope, a program that has been around for decades and can help eligible customers pay their phone or internet bills. While not specifically aimed at seniors, many of its qualifiers – including participation in Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and Veteran’s Pension and Survivor Benefits – apply to seniors. . Lifeline also aims to help low-income households, so retirees with particularly tight fixed incomes, including those on Federal State Housing Assistance or those using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, could also to participate.

What do you get if you qualify? Seniors can get up to $ 9.25 per month on their Internet bill for a total of $ 111 per year on the cost of being connected at home.

Best of all, once you’re eligible for Lifeline, you’re also eligible for the government’s newest broadband emergency allowance, a grant program from the Federal Communications Commission. Again, this is not aimed specifically at the elderly, but those eligible for Lifeline assistance may also qualify for this temporary benefit, which offers a monthly rebate on the cost of broadband service as long as the funds remain. federals last. Provisions of the last infrastructure bill would make the benefit permanent, so if that language makes it to the president’s office, you might consider reliable delivery for the foreseeable future.

What’s interesting is that you can use EBB funds for the ISP specific programs we list below and you might find that this fully covers the cost of your monthly internet bill! Another option is to use the EBB to help pay for a faster plan to help you stream your favorite TV shows better or get a better connection on those video chats with the family.

Finally, let me give you a word of caution: beware of “bargain” pages on some ISP sites. Many are just glorified advertisements masquerading as helpful advice. Instead of showing you legitimate discounts or showing you special offers, they try to sell you faster plans. Use absolute judgment when shopping.

Best Internet offers and discounts for seniors

Ry Crist / CNET

If you are receiving SSI benefits in California or participating in SNAP in any of the 21 states in the AT&T service area, you are eligible for this program, which offers download speeds of up to 25 megabits per second for 5 to $ 10 per month. You won’t have to deal with setup fees, contracts or deposits. In addition, until December 31, AT&T waives all data overage charges.

Read our review of AT&T’s Home Internet.

Optimum

This program includes eligibility for individuals 65 years of age and older who receive SSI and U.S. Army Veterans receiving state or federal assistance. The contract-free internet plan offers download speeds of up to 30 Mbps for $ 15 per month. It also includes a low cost installation, unlimited data, and a free modem / router combo.

Read our Optimum Home Internet review.

Ry Crist / CNET

This affordable internet plan costs $ 10 per month and offers download speeds of up to 25 Mbps. No contract or credit check is required. While not exclusively for seniors, it is open to eligible low-income households and SSI participants. In addition, RCN offers the first 60 days for free.

Learn more about the best cable Internet options.

Increase broadband

Sparklight

Sparklight offers help to low-income families and seniors. It will make its 15 Mbps plan available for $ 10 per month for the first three months of service. This will be in effect until December.

Read our Sparklight Home Internet review.

Ry Crist / CNET

People aged 65 and over benefiting from the SSI are eligible for this aid scheme. It offers download speeds of up to 30 Mbps for $ 15 per month and includes a free modem, no data limit, and no contracts.

Read our review of the Spectrum Home Internet.

Smith / Gado / Getty Images Collection

Ry Crist / CNET

If you’re a senior, participating in Medicaid or SSI, or receiving a VA pension, you may be eligible for this Internet plan, which offers download speeds of up to 50 Mbps for $ 10 per month. No credit check is required, and attendees also get free access to Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots. Finally, until December 31, new eligible customers will receive 60 days of free service.

Read our Xfinity Home Internet review.

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