Emergency Broadband Benefit Program FAQs
What is the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
Optimum is proudly participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. This program, which is part of the federal COVID-19 relief bill package, allows us to offer credits to our Internet customers. Eligible customers will get a monthly credit on their bill towards Internet service and equipment.
Who is eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
New and existing Optimum customers with Internet service who meet one of the following conditions:
- Lifeline eligible
- Laid off or furloughed since February 29, 2020 (provided that your income is not greater than $99K for single filer or $198K for joint filers)
- Free or reduced school lunch or breakfast program eligible
- Pell Grant recipients in the current award year
- New York City resident attending New York City public school
Can I apply if I have a past due balance with Optimum?
Yes, customers who have a past due balance can apply for the program.
How much is the monthly credit?
Eligible customers can receive a monthly credit of up to $50 per month (or up to $75 per month for residents on Tribal Lands) towards their Internet service and equipment.
When will the monthly credit and Emergency Broadband Benefit Program end?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will end when:
- the federal funding for this program runs out or
- 6 months after the date that the federal government declares there's no longer a public health emergency
Participants will be notified when the program officially ends.
How do I apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?
Submit an application with related documentation online at Optimum.com/EmergencyBroadband. Applicants must be an Optimum customer or have a scheduled installation.
What documents will I need to apply?
Customers will need a copy of a current Optimum bill or order confirmation email, copy of driver’s license, passport, government issued ID or Individual Taxpayer Identification number with name and date of birth and proof of eligibility.
If you are providing a Driver’s License as proof of identity the address must match the service address. Contact your local agency to update your address.
Examples of eligibility documentation include:
Free or Reduced-Price School Breakfast or Lunch
Households approved to receive free or reduced price breakfast or lunch under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in the 2019-2020 school year.
- Free/Reduced breakfast or lunch award letter from the current or 2019-2020 school year
- Award letter approving free/reduced for school district along with proof of enrollment in the district
- Driver’s license, passport, government-issued ID or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number documentation name and date of birth
Households eligible for or participating in Lifeline program. You qualify for Lifeline if you use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefits or if your income is 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines for the relevant year.
- Recent National Verifier Eligibility Determination confirmation
- SNAP/Food Stamps benefits letter/card with name printed
- Medicaid card with name and expiration date
- Most recent SSI (Supplemental Security Income) award letter
- Tax return from 2019 or 2020
- Recent pay stubs (three consecutive months)
- Current FPHA (Federal Public Housing Authority) award letter
- Recent Veterans Pension or Survivors Pension benefit, COLA (Cost-of-living adjustment) or grant letter
Laid Off or Furloughed
Households experiencing a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and at or below $198,000 for joint filers.
- Unemployment insurance or similar document dated February 29, 2020 or after
- Reduced hours letter dated February 29, 2020 or after
- Balance sheet/Profits & Loss showing loss of revenue for self-employed customers
Recipient of a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year.
- Written or electronic confirmation from a student’s Institution of Higher Education that the student has received a Pell Grant for the current award year
- Student’s official financial aid award letter documenting the amount of a student’s Pell Grant award received for the current year
- Student’s paid invoice that clearly documents the student’s receipt of a Pell Grant during the current award year
- Student’s Student Aid Report that clearly documents the student’s receipt of a Pell Grant during the current award year
New York City Resident Attending New York City Public School
Current New York City resident with a child attending New York City public school.
- Child’s school ID with the child’s first and last names
- Report card with the child’s first and last names
- Correspondence from the school with the child’s first and last names
What documents should I provide if I live on Tribal Lands?
In addition to the documents to show eligibility for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, customers on federally recognized Tribal Lands may qualify for the monthly credit of up to $75 by providing the following documentation:
- Current Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) general assistance letter or card
- Recent Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Recent Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) letter
- Recent Head Start (only households that meet income qualifying standards) letter
How long will it take to find out if my application has been approved?
Once the application and all related documents have been submitted, an approval/denial email will be sent to the email address provided within 2-5 business days.
What should I do if I haven’t received an email about my eligibility?
An eligibility email is sent within 2-5 business days. You will also receive a confirmation email when you submit your application. If you received a confirmation email initially and it has been more than 6 business days since you applied, but you have not received an eligibility email, check your junk or spam folders. If you still do not see any additional email communications, please reapply.
Can I reapply if my application was not approved?
Yes, customers who believe they are eligible should review the program criteria and reapply.
What should I do if I move out of the Optimum footprint?
Please go to smartmove.us to find a service provider in your area, and check if they are participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.
When will I see the credit applied to my account if I was approved?
Customers who received an eligibility approval email will see the monthly credit beginning with the first or second bill following approval.
After being approved, can I choose to no longer receive the credit?
If you no longer want to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, email [email protected] with the following information as it appears on your bill:
- Account Number
- First and Last Name
- Service Address
- Reason for Removal
What happens after the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program ends?
Once the program ends, the monthly credit will no longer be applied to the Internet service and equipment balance and the customer will be responsible for the full monthly amount going forward. If you are having trouble paying your bill, please call us at any time to review available options to lower your bill.