What’s the Difference Between ACP and Lifeline? All you need to know

What’s the Difference Between ACP and Lifeline All you need to know

If you’re searching for a more affordable connectivity program to replace your current plan, you may have come across the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) or Lifeline Program.

Both of these federal assistance programs are designed to alleviate the financial burdens of low income households while ensuring their access to reliable connection services. However, understanding the details of these programs and different eligibility criteria can be difficult.

In this blog, we will provide an easy-to-follow guide to the benefits and eligibility requirements of both programs, as well as walking you through the application process. Most importantly, we will show you how to maximize your benefits by applying for the benefits through specific channels.

How is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) different from Lifeline Program (Lifeline)?

While both programs aim to make telecommunication services more affordable for low-income households, they each prioritizes different aspects. The ACP place specific emphasis on affordable broadband internet access, whereas Lifeline primarily focuses on providing discounted phone services.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), formerly known as Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), is a federal communications commission (FCC) benefit program that provides monthly service discount to low income households for affordable internet services. The program allows eligible consumers to stay in touch with family and friends, keep up with the latest news, or reach out to emergency services without worrying about mounting bills.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can receive up to a \$30 monthly discount on broadband service from the ACP (up to \$75 if you live on federally recognized tribal lands). The benefit will be paid directly to participating service providers.

In addition to the discounted broadband services, the federal assistance program also provides a one-time discount of up to $100 for the purchase of internet connected devices, such as a tablet or desktop computer, when an eligible consumer make a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50. The benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per ACP household.

On the other hand, Lifeline is a federal program focuses on discounted phone services for needy families. It is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the FCC. You can receive up to a \$9.25 discount monthly (up to \$34.25 if you’re living on federally recognized tribal lands). 

How are the qualification requirements for the ACP different from the Lifeline Program ​

How are the qualification requirements for the ACP different from the Lifeline Program?

These two programs both have income requirements for eligible households. However, it’s worth noting that if you meet the requirements of Lifeline, you can automatically qualify for ACP benefits.

To qualify for Lifeline, you must either have a household income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty guidelines, or participate in following government assistance programs:

  • Medicaid

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps)

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), such as Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program (Section 8 Vouchers), Public Housing and Affordable Housing Programs for American Indians, Alaska Natives or Native Hawaiians

  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit

You can also receive benefits based on your child’s or dependent’ participation in any of the above programs.

Similar to Lifeline, the ACP also has an income qualifying standard, which requires a household’s income to be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty guidelines. Alternatively, you can qualify for the program’s benefits if someone in your household participates in tribal assistance programs, any programs that qualify you for Lifeline or the below government assistance programs:

  • Lifeline

  • Federal Pell Grant

  • Free and Reduced Price School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, including at Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools

  • Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)

How do I apply for these benefits?

Applying for the ACP requires only two steps: submit an application and select an internet service plan at a participating provider.

  1. Visit GetInternet.gov to submit your application or mail in your application with required documents. You may also choose to apply through trusted service provider such as EASY Wireless. If you apply with EASY Wireless, you will score extra benefits, such as a free mobile phone.

  2. Get in touch with your preferred participating provider such as EASY Wireless to choose a plan and have the discount applied to your bill.

For Lifeline, you can visit lifelinesupport.org to apply. If you qualify, you will have 90 days to choose a participating service provider and sign up for eligible service.

Can I enroll in both Lifeline and the ACP​

Can I enroll in both Lifeline and the ACP?

You may enroll in both Lifeline and the ACP concurrently, provided you meet the eligibility requirements of both programs. Additionally, you can apply the benefits to either the same service or different services, depending on your specific needs and preferences.

However, Lifeline participants can not automatically receive the ACP benefit. You must apply through your existing provider or request enrollment in the ACP with a participating internet provider and chose an eligible service plan. 

It’s important to note that eligible low-income households are not allowed to receive more than one Lifeline discount per household. Qualifying customers may receive a discount on either a wireline or wireless service. If you are receiving more than one Lifeline service, you must select a single Lifeline provider and de-enroll from other programs.

You are allowed to receive both ACP and Lifeline benefits, or combine these benefits with other state and local benefits where available. For example, qualifying individuals can enjoy a Lifeline-supported mobile phone service and a separate ACP-supported home internet service.

Make the most out of your ACP and Lifeline benefits with EASY Wireless

Applying either Lifeline or the ACP through EASY Wireless means additional exciting perks!

Under the current arrangement, an ACP eligible household can score the EASY Wireless Plus Plan, which includes a free smartphone, unlimited texting, unlimited talk and 5 GB of data. Qualifying customers for Lifeline benefits are eligible for the EASY Wireless Base Plan, including $25 smartphone, FREE text, 1000 talk minutes and 25 MB of data.

For those who qualify for BOTH programs, EASY Wireless offers an ultra Unlimited Plan that includes FREE unlimited data, FREE unlimited talk, FREE unlimited text, FREE SIM card kit and activation, and the flexibility of keeping your own number or getting a new one.

To get started with EASY Wireless, apply online by clicking the below:


Start Saving Today!

Or you can come to one of the EASY Wireless’s retail stores, where our customer service agent will help you apply for the benefits.

Need More Than Just One Line of Service or an Additional Phone?

EASY Wireless is a full-service cellular store that cares about all of your communication needs. We have a wide range of pre-paid plans for every budget and usage requirement. Also, we offer a selection of brand-name phones that combine quality, reliability, and the latest technology.

That’s not all – we also provide an array of amazing accessories to enhance your mobile experience. At EASY Wireless, we’re dedicated to providing exceptional service and ensuring you find the perfect plan, phone, and accessories to suit your lifestyle and preferences.

Visit us for all your cell phone and wireless service needs today!

Join the Tens of Thousands that have already signed up for FREE Lifeline and ACP Benefits.

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