Government assisted broadband internet for pensioners
- Centrelink discounts available
- Between $26 and $38 a quarter
- Not available for budget providers, but savings are usually more than the allowance
Many elderly people inquire about whether there are any government schemes that subsidise a broadband internet connection. Well, the good news is Centrelink does have the ‘Telephone Allowance’ package, which allows for a substantial credit for customers paying line rental (either for a phone service or as part of a broadband package) directly to Telstra.
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Through Centrelink, the Australian Federal Government is offering a subsidy of $38.40 per quarter for telephone and internet connections. This works out to just under $13 a month.
Eligibility for the allowance is limited to people on disability, parenting, newstart and sickness pensions.
Providers who lease a phone lines as part of a bundle with a low cost internet provider are usually not eleigible for the rebate - which is understandable in light of the fact that the saving is usual more than $13 a month anyway. But pensioners should take note: a 'bundled' line typically provides a phone service with limited capability. Services like Priority Assist (a panic button to press and call an ambulance in an emergency) or battery backup for the phone (to continue service in a general blackout) are not available.
Customers who require a full Telstra phone service might be recommended to combine the following plans and offers:
Telstra Homeline Plus - $33.95 (Provides low fixed rates and capped STD calls)
Minus $13 discount = $57.95/$77.95
For customers who are comfortable using a mobile phone for all call needs, and primarily need a line in for a broadband connection, consider the following bundles:
Both plans, despite not being elegible for the Centrelink allowance, still offer greater savings than most alternatives.
It should also be pointed out that the $3840 per quarter allowance is not automatic, and is only for customers with considerable difficulty in paying. Many claimants only get part fo the entitlement.
To qualify for the Higher Rate you need to hold either a current Pensioner Concession Card, or a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. You also need to meet certain residence requirements, and have both telephone and internet services connected in your or your partner’s name. You also need to be receiving an income support payment and are of the age pension age, or be receiving either a Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment.
For more assistance in finding an afforable broadband plan available in your area, please call us on 1300 106 571.