Making ends meet can be a challenge when restricted by a limited income. For those receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, it can be especially difficult given the soaring costs of food and housing due to inflation. While Social Security and SSI beneficiaries will benefit from the higher-than-average Cost-of-Living Adjustment increase in 2023, finding ways to spend less is always important to stick within a fixed budget. Fortunately, there are two newly launched federal programs aimed at helping those who qualify to save money on certain health and living expenses.
Discounts on internet service and connected devices
Thanks to a program from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) – households with an individual who receives SSI benefits are now eligible to receive a discount for broadband services and internet-connected devices.
Lest there’s concern about how this might impact benefits, the program is structured so the assistance does not count as income or a resource for SSI purposes, nor will it reduce a person’s SSI payment.
The ACP provides:
- Internet service for eligible households for up to $30/month
- Internet service for households on qualifying Tribal lands for up to $75/month
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment from as little as $10 but less than $50)
- A low-cost service plan that could be 100% covered through the ACP and a separate, non-FCC initiative at GetInternet.gov
Those interested in applying should visit AffordableConnectivity.gov to find out more.
Over-the-counter, affordable hearing aids
With a recent final rule issued by the FDA, adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss can now purchase hearing aids without a prescription, exam, or audiologist fitting – a change that could reduce costs by as much as $3,000 per pair.
For the 30 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, it could mean the difference between having hearing aids or not. According to the White House, retailers like CVS and Walgreens will make them available in-store and/or online in several locations across the US, while others like Walmart will have them both online at their website and the affiliated SamsClub.com, plus in 1000 of their Vision Centers.
Additional cost-support options
President Biden has committed to lowering costs for American families. In addition to lower health care costs, the Inflation Reduction Act promises to bring lower energy costs through rebates and tax credits – a welcome relief to those worried about keeping their homes warm throughout the winter.
At Brown & Brown Absence Services Group, we are proud to support these federal programs and offer additional supplementary services to our clients that can provide financial assistance during an already difficult time. If you have additional questions or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the Brown & Brown Absence Services Group team.