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Broadband, phone discounts are available for students and families

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TOPEKA – The start of a new school year is an expensive time for families. If you are struggling to pay for phone and internet services while navigating back to school costs, help is available to stay connected.

During Lifeline Awareness Week, the Kansas Corporation Commission encourages Kansans in need of assistance to apply for Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP). Both programs help low-income individuals and families stay connected so they can access healthcare, attend classes, keep up with homework, find jobs and call for help in an emergency.

Anyone who qualifies for Lifeline is automatically eligible to participate in both programs. Due to higher income maximums, ACP also has the potential to help many families with internet costs that may not qualify for other types of assistance. For example, the maximum income for a family of four on the ACP program is $55,500 per year. The maximum annual income for a family of four on the Lifeline program is $37,463.

Lifeline provides federal and state discounts up to $17.02 per month on phone service (wireless or residential) and broadband. The Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP) provides a service discount of up to $30 per month for broadband service and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider. Both programs offer additional discounts for subscribers living on tribal lands.

Eligibility is based on income (at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for Lifeline or at or below 200% for ACP) or participation in certain assistance programs such as:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FHPA)
  • Veterans Pension & Survivors Pension Benefit
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Head Start Tribal Programs (income based)
  • The Food Distribution Program on Tribal Lands.

Regardless of Lifeline eligibility, Kansans may still qualify for ACP if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • Are approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including the USDA Community Eligibility Provision.
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020.
  • Meet the eligibility criteria for a participating broadband provider’s existing low-income program.

More information on income eligibility, participating providers, and the enrollment process is available on the KCC website.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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