The SafeLink EBB Program: What You Need To Know

The SafeLink EBB Program, formerly called Lifeline Broadband, gives eligible customers free wireless broadband to help them stay connected during a crisis.

While you might think that this program only applies to those living in rural or low-income areas, the truth is that it’s available to people nationwide who meet certain requirements.

If you’re struggling with an emergency or natural disaster and feel like you could use the extra peace of mind provided by the SafeLink EBB Program.

Be sure to see if you qualify for the program before signing up for an account through your participating cell service provider.

With hurricanes Irma and Harvey wreaking havoc across the United States, many individuals, including senior citizens and those with disabilities, are finding themselves in potentially life-threatening situations due to loss of power and/or Internet access.

What can you do if you find yourself in one of these scenarios? Do you have the knowledge and resources necessary to get out of harm’s way? Also, look for A Free Replacement Phone If Yours Is Broken Or Stolen.

More importantly, do you know where to turn to avoid making your emergency even worse? If you don’t already know about it, here’s how to utilize the SafeLink EBB program, as well as its benefits.

If you’re currently enrolled in the SafeLink Program and you’re living in an area with cell phone coverage, you may be eligible to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB).

This program, which was introduced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2016, aims to bridge the digital divide by providing free cellular data and voice service to individuals who are affected by natural or man-made disasters.

The FCC allocates this benefit on a case-by-case basis and will provide these mobile devices to individuals regardless of whether they qualify for the Lifeline Program or not.

Read Also: The Best Safelink Compatible Phones For Low-Income Families In 2023

The SafeLink EBB Program

SafeLink offers a monthly discount of $49.25 for qualifying customers who are receiving benefits from one or more of the following programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF),
  • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Medicaid, or
  • National School Lunch Program.
  • The customer is eligible if they have an active SafeLink phone line with a Lifeline account that is in good standing.
  • This program is designed to provide connectivity during emergencies when cellular networks might be overloaded due to an event such as a natural disaster.

How Does The SafeLink EBB Program Work?

SafeLink is a program that provides free cell phone service to low-income families. The program works by giving participants free phone and airtime for two years, so long as they meet the eligibility requirements.

Check Also: How to get free government iphone?

Safelink ebb program application

If you are a qualified low-income subscriber, then you will be eligible for the emergency broadband benefit (or EBB) program. The service is free and can provide up to 60 megabytes of data per month.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Qualified subscribers must first fill out a short application form on the Safelink website.
  2. Once your application is approved, you will receive an email letting you know that your account has been activated and that Safelink will be sending your new SIM card by mail within 10 business days.
  3. When your SIM card arrives in the mail, please activate it immediately using the instructions provided in your activation email.
  4. You may only have one active compatible Safelink EBB device at any time.
  5. There is no limit to how long you may have access to this benefit; however, if you wish to stop using the service or switch devices you will need to contact customer support before deactivating so that they may cancel any existing orders associated with your account from other providers.
  6. The Safelink EBB Program does not require a contract; however, if you choose to port your number over from another carrier, there is a 30-day waiting period before service becomes effective.
  7. All funds used to purchase the device are paid back after 18 months if you keep the plan for 24 months.
  8. To qualify for this program, customers must either participate in Medicaid/Medicare or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  9. Additionally, individuals enrolled in TANF/GA/AFDC are also eligible based on their state’s guidelines.

Who Is Eligible For The SafeLink EBB Program?

To qualify, you must either participate in one of the following :-

  • Public assistance programs or
  • Have an income below 135% of the Federal Poverty Line:
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility requirements are different depending on which state you live in. To qualify for the SafeLink EBB Program in California, your household must be one of the following:

  • Low-income households with children under age 13 who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or
  • Other public assistance programs such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF),
  • SSI,
  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP),
  • CalFresh/CalWORKs;
  • Low-income households without children under age 13 but with an elderly member or person with a disability;
  • Income-eligible Tribal Members living on Tribal Lands.


This program is a great way for anyone who does not have access to broadband at home to take advantage of the benefits of the internet.

It is also a great opportunity for people in rural areas who may not be able to find work near their homes. If you are eligible and interested, please apply.

And if you know someone who might qualify, please share this information with them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for the SafeLink EBB Program?

To be eligible, you must not have a current landline, cell phone, or broadband service in your home or via your mobile device.

How much does it cost?

The monthly fee for the SafeLink EBB program is $9.25 per month with a one-time activation fee of $25 which includes a federally subsidized cell phone and up to 250 minutes (or 500 texts) of talk time that can be used for local and long-distance calls as well as texts.

Do I need to purchase a new cell phone?

If you already have a working cell phone, then no; if not then yes.

Can I use my cell phone?

Yes, but the SafeLink EBB Program will only cover up to 250 minutes (or 500 texts) of talk time each month and it must be on an approved list from TracFone Wireless Services Inc., another provider on Lifeline’s list, or a Lifeline telephone company like US Cellular or Verizon Wireless who offer Lifeline phones as part of their packages.

How can I determine if my phone is eligible?

Ask your provider what plans they offer that would meet eligibility requirements for the SafeLink EBB Program. Providers may include AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, MetroPCS, Virgin Mobile USA, etc., so make sure to ask! Once you’ve done this finds out if they sell prepaid or pay-as-you-go phones and whether they are GSM compatible; many carriers across the country are GSM compatible so this isn’t always straightforward because of how complicated wireless providers can be! Some wireless providers allow people with certain plans or loyalty levels access to additional minutes at a lower rate than those available to everyone else.

About Author
Kevin M Edwards is an investing writer who join Govt Grants Help in 2021. He covers a wide variety of investing topics including mutual funds , cryptocurrency and financial advice. His work has been featured in The New York Times , The Washington Post , Yahoo finance and MarketWatch.

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