The ACP offers a flexible approach to its benefits, especially to those living in qualifying Tribal communities.
Having active internet access in a Tribal community promotes better communication and more chances at finding proper educational and job resources.
The Enhanced Tribal Benefit offers more benefits than the ones for the Affordable Connectivity Program. We’ll show you everything to know about Tribal benefits under the ACP and what you can do to apply.
Understanding the Enhanced Tribal Benefit
The Enhanced Tribal Benefit runs under the Affordable Connectivity Program. Eligible individuals can get access to affordable internet and certain discounts on select products.
There aren’t many differences between the Enhanced Tribal Benefit and the regular ACP since both are part of the same program. The main difference relies on the fact that Tribal benefits are slightly higher than the standard ones.
Only people who live on qualifying Tribal lands can ask for the Enhanced Tribal Benefit, which isn’t something that happens with the ACP.
Qualifying Tribal lands include:
Former reservations in Oklahoma.
Federally-recognized Indian tribe’s pueblo, colony, or reservation.
Hawaiian Home Lands.
Alaska Native regions established in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.
Any other land approved by the Lifeline or ACP programs.
The goal of this program is to make the internet more accessible to people living on Tribal lands, which is why the eligibility criteria are slightly more complicated. We’ll go over all of these requirements further in this article.
It’s important to note that the ACP uses the same definition of Tribal lands as Lifeline. The best way to know if you live on a Tribal land is to check with your internet provider. USAC, for example, uses the Postal Service of the country to verify if your address is on tribal lands.
Eligibility for the Enhanced Tribal Benefit
We’ve already mentioned that the main criteria for eligibility is that the household must be on a qualifying Tribal land. However, there are other criteria you must consider:
The household’s total income must be at or less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
At least one of the members of the household participates in a qualifying Federal program like Tribal Lifeline Program, SNAP, WIC, etc. They can also be eligible if they received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year.
Any member that participates in one Tribal-specific program may be eligible for this benefit. These programs include the Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, Tribal Head Start, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
Finally, you may be eligible for the Enhanced Tribal Benefit if you meet the criteria established by a participating provider’s low-income program.
Documentation and Verification Process
If you meet any of the conditions mentioned above, you may be ready to start your application process.
You may get asked for a few documents to verify your qualifications. First, you can go to the ACP’s online application page and click on “Confirm Tribal Qualification.” Then, you’ll be prompted to check the “Tribal Lands” box and send any applicable identity documents like Tribal ID, SSN, and others.
On the other hand, you could also get asked to send proof of address or proof of income. You can do this by sending documents like pay stubs, tax returns, and other qualifying statements. Feel free to ask an ACP representative for help.
Once you’re done with the process, the staff will verify if you qualify for the Enhanced Tribal Benefit. Even if you don’t, you could still apply for the standard ACP discount.
Keep in mind that there’s only one discount allowed per household. To start the application process, people can go online, print out the application and mail it, or talk to their current internet provider.
Benefits and Services
Some of the benefits you’ll get from the Enhanced Tribal Benefit include:
Lower costs for your internet services.
Access to affordable equipment to browse the internet.
Access to many educational resources and technical assistance.
Better connectivity options for Tribal families, promoting better communication.
Opportunities for education, economic, and telehealth development.
Here’s a guide to applying for your Enhanced Tribal Benefit:
Start your application process.
Click on “Confirm Tribal Qualification” and check “Tribal Lands” whenever possible.
Submit all the necessary documentation.
Wait until you get a response.
Here are all the resources you need to understand the application process:
If you have any doubts about the process, you can talk to any non-profit organization working with Tribal communities for assistance. They have more experience with these processes and will be more than glad to help.
Limitations and Restrictions
The ACP offers up to $75 in discounts on your monthly internet service. Moreover, it also offers a one-time discount of up to $100. You can use it to buy a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.
In that case, you would have to make a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50 to get the discount. As for the limitations, it’s important to remember that only one service discount is allowed per household.
The Tribal Lifeline Program offers extra help for Tribal communities by offering up to $34.25 per month in discounts, as well as up to a $100 reduction for your first-time connection charges. Overall, the coverage area for this special benefit is limited to qualifying Tribal lands.
People outside these approved areas may still opt for the standard ACP or Lifeline benefits. The internet plans may have limited speeds. Most of them are known for having a minimum of 100MBs in download speed.
It’s important to comply with all the terms specified by the program. These benefits are meant to cover low-income individuals and families in specific communities. Not complying with these terms at any moment could get your benefits revoked.
When applying, make sure you only include verifiable and updated information about yourself and your household.
Costs Associated with the Enhanced Tribal Benefit
It won’t cost you anything to enroll in this program. As mentioned, you’ll get up to $75 in discounts for your monthly internet service. If you want to buy a new device like a laptop or tablet, you could get up to $100 in discounts.
Keep in mind that the ACP doesn’t waive the initial installation charges. These fees must be charged on the same terms that regular households comply with.
However, if you also apply for Lifeline and its Tribal benefit, you could get Link Up assistance. This company helps qualified people in Tribal lands to pay the activation/installation fees for their service.
It offers up to $100 in reimbursements. Also, if your activation fee is over $100, the company will offer you a no-interest payment plan for up to $200 for up to a year.
Depending on the internet provider you choose, you could essentially have free internet service. Many providers offer plans at $30 and below, so if you go for one that’s below the benefits you’re getting, you could cover the entire monthly cost of your service.
The Enhanced Tribal Benefit is one of the programs that help people in these communities have affordable access to the internet. Even though the eligibility requirements are strict, the benefits are worth it.
Having internet in these areas can open many opportunities for families, so if you’re interested, make sure to check as many resources as possible. There’s a lot of information out there that can help you understand the process.