Internet Service Discounts for Seniors
The internet began as a simple curiosity, but as it grew, more people started to embrace it. Initially, middle-aged people and the younger generation were the ones jumping into it.
But, as the utility of the internet improved, seniors started seeing the benefits. It allows seniors to keep in touch with family and friends, as well as stay engaged in community services and events.
Low-Cost Internet for Seniors
For some seniors, social isolation can be a problem and the internet can be a solution. In addition, they can use it to watch favorite shows and informational videos, find good exercises, listen to music and much more.
Unfortunately, internet fees can get quite expensive, especially for those who are retired, disabled or on a fixed income. This is why many internet service providers offer various types of discounts that can help.
Here are a few providers with senior discounts that you can check out:
Top Providers with Discounts for Seniors
AT&T Access Program
Up to 10 Mbps
Comcast Internet Essentials
Up to 25 Mbps
Spectrum Internet Assist
Up to 30 Mbps
Up to 1,000 Mbps
Up to 100 Mbps
AT&T Senior Discounts
AT&T offers a fantastic program for low-cost internet called Access, which is available to qualifying low-income households. The program is only available in 21 states. Depending on the speed in a particular area, it will cost between $5-$10/mo. AT&T has also temporarily expanded Access eligibility to include Head Start and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
The qualifications for this low-cost service are:
- At least one person in the household must be part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- In the state of California, you must receive Supplemental Security Income
- Specific income-requirements
*There may be additional requirements
Xfinity Senior Discounts
Xfinity has a program called the Comcast Internet Essentials pilot program. Seniors who are eligible for this program can receive low-cost home internet service for only $9.95/mo. They will also get a free computer, home WiFi and classes that train them on how to use the internet.
This is one of the best starter programs for seniors who have absolutely no experience with the internet.
The qualifications for this program are:
- The household must be in a serviceable area
- The household receives federal or state assistance
- The household does not have recent or current service with Comcast/Xfinity
- There must not be a leftover balance with Comcast that is less than one year old
- Must be eligible for or receive public assistance
Note: Currently, this program is only offered in around a dozen areas in the country.
*There may be additional requirements
Spectrum/Charter Senior Discounts
Spectrum offers a program called Spectrum Internet Assist in certain areas. This program provides low-cost internet service for seniors who are getting Supplemental Security Income. They have internet service plans for as low as $15/mo.
Qualified households will receive a free modem, no contracts, no data caps, high-speed internet at 30 Mbps and in-home WiFi service for $5/mo. (optional.)
To be eligible, one or more members of the household must be enrolled in one of the following programs:
- Supplemental Security Income (65+)
- National School Lunch Program
- Community Eligibility Provision
*There may be additional requirements
Fiber is Google’s brand of internet service. Google Fiber is only available in limited areas as of right now, so be sure to check availability on their website. Available in 18 locations, Google offers internet access that is affordable, especially for people on a fixed income.
Google is working to provide internet in more locations quickly, but it may be some time before they reach more rural areas. In certain neighborhoods, Google Fiber offers high-speed plans for as low as $15/mo.
CenturyLink for Seniors
CenturyLink offers plans that can be affordable for seniors on a fixed income. While they don’t have senior discounts specifically, they do offer a “Price For Life” plan, which means that the cost will never go up. The plan includes speeds up to 100 Mbps at $49/mo. This is a particularly beneficial plan for those on a fixed budget.
They also offer a program called Lifeline, which is an FCC run initiative to bring internet to low-income consumers. Those who qualify for federally-recognized aide programs may be eligible for Lifeline as well.
Internet Programs with Senior Discounts
|FreedomPop||$19.99/mo.||1GB||Based on ZIP code availability|
|FCC Lifetime program||Varies by provider||Up to 100 Mbps||Low-income consumers|
|Everyone On||Varies by ZIP code||Varies by provider||Must be an under-resourced person and receive public housing|
|Internet First from Wave||$9.95/mo.||Up to 25 Mbps||Low-income households|
If any internet cost is too expensive, seniors should check with FreedomPop. They offer low-cost and free high-speed internet and mobile phone service to select ZIP codes. Their free plan is quite limited, but they offer multiple tiers of service, which allows seniors to choose the one that is right for them. Check the FreedomPop website to see if their service is available in your area.
Lifeline is a federal program that works with multiple providers to offer discounts to eligible low-income consumers. Eligible groups include those who receive Supplemental Security Income, SNAP, veterans benefits and a few other state and federal assistance programs. You can use the Lifeline provider database to locate all the potential providers in your area. Some of the companies participating in this program include Verizon, Windstream, Frontier and many more.
EveryoneOn leads the ConnectHomeUSA movement, which aims to bring internet to those without it in low-income areas and public housing. The movement started in 2015 and is now active in over 87 communities and 37% of HUD-assisted households across the U.S.
Human-I-T is a nonprofit that helps consumers learn about and sign up for low-cost internet service. This service provides speeds up to 18 Mbps at $14.99/mo. No deposit or term commitment is required. Households who apply must be 200% or below the federal poverty level or already enrolled in an income-based government assistance program.
How to Find the Best Internet Plan for You
There are a few points to keep in mind when searching for an internet provider. One of the most important is to check with multiple providers to ensure you find the best fit. Although this may not always be an option because some areas only have one or two providers. But for those who live in an area with multiple providers, it never hurts to shop around.
You may be able to find a better deal or you may not like a certain provider because of their contract terms. Many of the low-cost plans do not have a contract so they can be terminated at any time, but this is not always the case.
Another point is to ask questions if you need to, such as about contract terms, hidden fees or taxes, etc. Asking questions not only helps discover potential hidden costs, but it could also bring up some discounts or programs that may be better suited for you.
Learning Your Way Around the Internet
For seniors who have no experience with the internet whatsoever, it is a good idea to choose a provider that offers training classes as part of their program, like Xfinity. This way, you can at least learn the basics of the internet and what not to do.
While the internet can be a great way to enjoy yourself, there are also hidden dangers to be aware of. Scammers are prominent these days, so it is important to know how to protect yourself. You could also have an internet-savvy family member guide you through learning the basics. Even something as simple as an email can be a hidden trap and you should know how to avoid and identify these things.
The internet can be an incredible tool for seniors and it should be easily accessible for them.
Frequently Asked Questions about Internet Discounts for Seniors
Unfortunately, scammers prey on the elderly. There are many scams that seniors must know about, so they don’t become a victim, including:
• Healthcare and insurance fraud
• Counterfeit beauty and health products
• Emails requesting personal information
• Tech and computer support scams
• Lottery scams
What are some of the ways senior citizens can use the internet?
There are dozens of things seniors can do on the internet, including shopping, personal banking, finding a handyman, connecting with family, posting to social media, checking medical sites, scheduling appointments, shopping for groceries and more.
How many senior citizens actually use the internet?
A study by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project found in 2012 that 61% of baby boomers, ages 57-65, had a desktop computer and 49% had a laptop. Today, nearly 73% of people 65+ log onto the internet.
What are the best computers for senior citizens so they can surf the internet?
There are a couple of tablets, computers with large-key keyboards and touch screens that make using a computer and the internet much easier for seniors. The WOW computer has a large, 22-inch touch screen and large print keyboard. Seniors might also like the Telikin Elite II 22-Inch Desktop, the A Plus Senior Computer, a tablet called the GrandPad and the Claris Companion, another simplified tablet.