Products You May Like
According to Pew Research Center surveys, 75% of adults ages 65 and over use the internet, and 64% use their home broadband connection to do so. These numbers have risen steadily over the past decade, becoming even more pronounced after the COVID-19 pandemic. I think all of us have increased our use of FaceTime, Zoom and other video-chat tools over that time.
The need to be online is imperative, but too often, the price of a reliable internet connection can be steep. That’s an amplified problem if you’re a retiree on a fixed income. How can you find cheap internet deals for seniors? I’m glad you asked. Here are a few ideas to stay connected for less.
Start with government programs
Unlike your local diner, internet service providers don’t really offer senior discounts. But seniors do need affordable internet service. There are certainly some ISP-specific deals worth exploring (and I’ll talk about those in a moment), but your best bet is to begin by taking advantage of some federal programs. Two in particular jump to mind — one has been around since 1985, and the other is a newer policy that went into place in 2022.
You should begin with Lifeline, a program that’s been around for decades and can help eligible customers with their phone or internet bills. While it’s not specifically geared to older citizens, several of its qualifiers — including participation in Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income and Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit — apply to seniors. Lifeline is also geared toward helping low-income households, so retirees on an especially tight, fixed income, including those in Federal Public Housing Assistance or those using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, might also be able to participate.
What do you get if you do qualify? Seniors can get up to $9.25 a month off their internet bill for $111 a year off the cost of being connected at home.
Even better, once you qualify for Lifeline, you’re also eligible for the government’s Affordable Connectivity Program, a subsidy from the Federal Communications Commission. Again, this is not specifically geared to seniors, but those eligible for Lifeline assistance can also qualify for this benefit, which provides a monthly discount on the cost of broadband service.
What’s exciting is you can use the funds from the ACP toward the specific programs we list below, and you might find it fully covers the cost of your monthly internet bill. One other option is to use the ACP to help pay for a faster plan to help you better stream your favorite TV shows or get a better connection on those video chats with your family.
Finally, a note of caution: Beware some ISP sites’ “senior deals” pages. Many are just glorified ads masquerading as helpful tips. They’re trying to sell you on higher-speed plans instead of showing you legitimate discounts or unveiling special deals. Use some discernment as you shop.