Millions could get £180 off broadband bills via social tariff

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Low-income families may be able to sign up to discounted broadband which could save households as much as £180 a year compared to industry average tariffs. Introduced last summer, the UK Government scheme lets internet service providers – with claimants’ permission – ask the DWP to automatically verify their customers’ benefit entitlement.

This means people do not need to actively prove they claim benefits while on a tariff.

There are a number of social tariffs on offer from leading providers in the UK.

Sky, BT and Virgin Media O2 provide those receiving Universal Credit, Pension Credit and other means-tested benefits, with monthly broadband packages available from between £12.50 and £20.

Sky has become the first national connectivity provider to help their customers access cheaper broadband and mobile tariffs by signing up to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) social tariff scheme for benefit claimants.

Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression Mims Davies said: “It’s positive to see a major provider, such as Sky, sign up to our scheme, making it easier for families to access cheaper broadband and mobile tariffs in difficult times.

“I call on other providers to follow suit in offering this type of tariff for those in need.

“Claimants who think they might be eligible for one of these tariffs, should contact their provider.

“This is just one of the ways we are working to help households during these tough times as part of the government’s £37billion support package for those most in need.”

The latest figures from Ofcom show that just 136,000 of the 4.2 million households on Universal Credit who are entitled to the discounted deals have taken them up.

With the cross-government Help for Households programme, they aim to grow public awareness to the campaign to ensure further uptake.

Benefits that the DWP’s system will be able to verify entitlement for are:

  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-Related Employment Support Allowance

People in receipt of benefits interested in exploring broadband tariff options can find a full list on Ofcom’s website.

It should be noted that each company has its own list of eligible benefits, but all include Universal Credit.

Money saving expert Martin Lewis told viewers of the Martin Lewis Money Show Live programme that only three percent of those who are eligible are actually taking advantage of the social tariff broadband offers.

Explaining how social tariff broadband works to viewers, Mr Lewis said: “Those are cheaper, long-term cheap tariffs that you’re able to get in those circumstances.

“Usually you’ll pay between £12 to £20 per month, so it’s cheaper than current deals, it isn’t normally but it is right now.

“So, if you’re on Universal Credit, go and take advantage of the cheaper broadband you’re entitled to.”

The quickest way to find out if people can lower their monthly broadband bill is to contact their provider directly.

For example Sky Broadband Basics costs £20 per month for 18 months.

Alternatively BT Basic provides broadband and home phone services to customers on benefits for £15 per month.

Specific details can be found on each provider’s website.

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