An elderly woman types on her computer

Best low-cost internet for seniors

For many seniors, the internet is a key way to stay in touch with family and keep entertained during the day. In fact, 59% of seniors are active internet users. Having access to the internet is perhaps even more important now during social distancing measures. However, getting low-cost internet for seniors that’s reliable and doesn’t involve rigid contracts is no easy task. To help you find the best low-cost internet for seniors, we’ve put together a list of ideal internet plans for your loved one.

Benefits of low-cost internet for seniors

The internet can help improve your loved one’s quality of life. These days, we use the internet for just about everything. With it, your senior will be able to:

  • Connect with family and friends through video chat and other apps.
  • Enjoy and engage with others on social media.
  • Use internet-based services such as Amazon Alexa, YouTube, Netflix, music streaming, etc.
  • Pay bills, login into bank accounts and shop online.
  • Download ebooks and read the news.
  • Browse the internet according to interests.

In turn, these activities can reduce a senior’s feelings of loneliness or isolation. It’s also a safe way to do errands without leaving the house. Overall, the internet can be an essential part of your loved one’s life. 

Free internet for seniors

While there’s no current internet plan that’s free for seniors, there are some places to get free internet access in the community. For example, if your loved one enjoys outings, he/she might consider connecting to the internet:

  • At a local library
  • At a local bookstore
  • At a local cafe 
  • At a local fast-food chain
  • Some public museums
  • Some public transportation
  • Some public parks

Of course, publicly available internet isn’t always safe. You should never use internet without a password or access sensitive information while connected to public internet. 

Not every senior has the ability to move around town. If your loved one isn’t able to visit these locations for free internet, you’ll want to check out low-cost internet plans for seniors below.

Qualifying programs for internet discounts

Most internet providers don’t have senior-specific discounts. However, you may qualify for a discount on your internet plan if you are currently enrolled in low-income and government programs. These may include:

  • SNAP
  • NSLP
  • TANF
  • HUD
  • SSI
  • Medicaid
  • Pell grant
  • Lifeline program
  • Veteran government assistance
  • Senior government assistance

You should check with your favorite internet provider to see if they offer a discount for any of these programs. Oftentimes this information is hidden from view. We’ll also highlight a few known low-cost internet for seniors below that could be useful for your family.

Low-cost internet for seniors

Let’s go over some low-cost options for seniors who would like to contract an internet plan. You’ll find these options organized by price.

$10/month low-cost internet for seniors

  • AT&T Access: $10/month. Free installation and no contract for qualifying low-income households (SNAP or SSI). 
  • Comcast Internet Essentials: $9.95/month. No contract and free set-up kit for qualifying low-income households (NSLP, HUD assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI and others). 
  • Internet First from Wave: $9.95/month for qualifying low-income households (NSLP, HUD assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI and others).
  • Lifeline: $9.25/month discount from any internet provider for low-income families. This program is government-sponsored.

$14.99+/month low-cost internet for seniors

  • Altice Suddenlink/Optimum: $14.99/month for seniors 65 years or older who are eligible for SSI. (Also available for veterans.)
  • Spectrum Internet Assist: $14.99/month. Modem and no contract for qualifying low-income families (NSLP, CEP or SSI).

Tips for using the internet for seniors

Though the internet is a wonderful tool for seniors, it’s important to know how to use it. Seniors are especially vulnerable to scams. For this reason, it’s essential for every senior to know the basics of internet security. Here are some tips to get your loved one started:

  • Secure your phone, computer and internet with unique passwords.
  • Don’t open emails with too-good-to-be-true headlines (offers for free vacations, prize money, etc.)
  • Browse on secure, verified sites only (they should have “https://” in front of the URL).
  • Don’t enter private or payment details unless you’ve verified the site.
  • Don’t download unknown attachments and software.
  • Check your privacy settings on social media.
  • Use a credit card when doing any online shopping.
  • Don’t send money online. If you receive an emergency message from someone, call them to verify the situation first. If you want to donate, reach out to the organization first.
  • Read about common scams to avoid them happening to you.

These are just a handful of the most important tips for staying safe on the internet. If you’re worried about your loved one’s safety online, you might also help them set-up anti-virus and privacy controls beforehand. 

Staying in touch with your senior

Getting the right low-cost internet plan will go a long way to staying in touch. With it, seniors can chat via video apps, use social media, stream videos/music and look up anything to their heart’s desire. 

You should also make sure that you have the best cell phone plan for seniors, as well as the right digital products at home. These will help your loved one communicate well with your family and stay entertained during the day. 

For more information on senior health topics or products, be sure to check out My Caring Plan.com. Here you’ll get more tips for caring for the special senior in your life. 

Sources:

  1. Technology Use Among Seniors, Pew Research Center, www.pewresearch.org
  2. Strategies for Staying Safe and Secure Online, AARP, www.aarp.org
  3. Staying Safe Online, AgeUK, www.ageuk.org.uk
  4. Low-Cost Internet Service, Everyone On, www.everyoneon.org

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