SA/AP (5/12/21): Emergency program to give people $50 off internet bill

By Star-Advertiser/Associated Press, 5 May 2021

Americans can begin applying for $50 off their monthly internet bill today as part of an emergency government program to keep people connected during the pandemic.

The $3.2 billion program is part of the $900 billion December pandemic-relief package. The government is increasing spending on broadband as the pandemic made stark that millions of Americans did not have access to, and could not afford, broadband at a time when jobs, school and health care was moving online.

It’s unclear how long the money will last but it’s expected to be several months. Tens of millions of people are eligible, although the Federal Communications Commission, which is administering the program, did not specify a number.

For example, your household is eligible if you receive food stamps, have a child in the free or reduced-price school lunch program, use Medicaid, or lost income during the pandemic and made $99,000 for single filers, or $198,000 for joint filers, or less.

There are other eligibility requirements, too — see https://getemergencybroadband.org to find out if you qualify.

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SA (5/12/21): Hawaii food support program for women, infants, and children gets boost in benefits

By Nina Wu, Star-Advertiser, 12 May 2021

Hawaii is offering more financial relief to families through a temporary increase in cash value benefits for its Women, Infants, and Children Program this summer.

The federally funded program provides Hawaii residents that are pregnant, breastfeeding, postpartum, or mothers of children under age 5 with access to food, nutrition education and support.

With a boost from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the cash value benefit for WIC will increase to $35 for first-use dates during the months of June, July, August, and September.

They can be used to purchase fruits and vegetables at authorized vendors. WIC recipients will also continue to receive milk, cereal, juice, whole grains, beans, peanut butter, and baby food as part of their monthly benefits.

“This pandemic has been incredibly hard on Hawaii families,” said Melanie Murakami, DOH’s Branch Chief, WIC Services, in a news release. “The temporary increase of $35 will allow families to maximize WIC benefits and continue to include more fruits and vegetables into their daily meals while helping ease the extra financial stress they had to endure this past year.”

To learn more about the Hawaii WIC Program, visit health.hawaii.gov/wic.