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Millions Of Seniors Risk Losing Reliable Internet Access As Federal Program Ends


The stereotype that people who are no longer new to adulthood have no idea what they are doing with the Internet no longer holds true.  The oldest digital natives are adults who use the Internet to pay bills, respond to emails from work, and read news that influences their votes, which they are now old enough to cast.  Meanwhile, retirees spend their copious free time doom scrolling through Facebook and YouTube, much as their younger counterparts do, albeit on other social media platforms.  In fact, many young people cannot fathom what life would be like if their grandparents did not use the Internet, but unless politicians can put aside their differences long enough to extend a federal program that makes Internet access affordable for millions of retirees, they may be about to find out.  The precarious future of the Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP) is just one example that highlights how precarious the financial situations of many elderly Americans are.  To find out more about planning for a lean retirement, contact an Orlando estate planning lawyer.

Seniors Need Cyberspace

In the 1990s, if you had an email address, and your employer had issued it to you, you were a nerd of the first order, existing in a rarefied environment poorly understood by the vast majority of the population, most of whom had never typed the @ symbol.  Today, everyone uses the Internet at work, from C suite executives to gig economy delivery drivers.  Of course, the Internet is the difference between safety and disaster even for those who are no longer in the workforce.

Social isolation is disastrous to the physical and mental health of seniors.  Elderly Floridians, especially those who live alone, need the Internet to attend telehealth appointments, order grocery deliveries, and stay in contact with friends and family.  The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a pandemic era initiative, provided a $30 per month Internet bill credit to households with income below a certain level.  Approximately 20 percent of the beneficiaries are people over 65, and across all age groups, 40 percent live in rural counties.  Unfortunately, the ACP is running out of funding, and the credit in May 2024 is less than $10 per household.  The program could disappear entirely by the end of the year.

How Can Seniors Stay Connected Without the ACP?

Without the ACP, seniors can use their cellular data to connect to the Internet, but this is not cheap.  They can also use free Internet at public libraries, but this requires traveling to a public library.  Some people even sit in parking lots outside of buildings with strong Wi-Fi signals and soak up the connectivity on their phones.  You may need to build Internet bills into your already meager retirement budget, or else get creative.

Contact Gierach and Gierach About Realistic Retirement Budgeting

An estate planning lawyer can help you face the ugly truth about your retirement finances.  Contact Gierach and Gierach, P.A. in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.



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