Am I eligible for a social tariff?

If you’ve been following the news lately then you’ll know that social tariffs are the hot topic right now. With millions in fuel poverty – and many more anticipated to join them – it’s not surprising that searches for social tariffs have rocketed across the UK. The affordability and living crisis has hit, and many are struggling to pay their bills.

Thankfully, government support is slowly coming forward to help those who most need it. Paying your bills is increasingly difficult for many households up and down the UK, but for those on benefits it is particularly taxing.

The main question that you will probably have is: “Am I eligible?” – the eligibility requirements for social tariffs are quite clear: you need to be in receipt of benefits of some kind.

But what does this mean, and how can you find out if you’re permitted to sign up? Keep reading below as we answer all your common questions.

Which benefits do I need to be receiving?

The first requirement is that you need to be receiving some sort of government pension or benefit.

The individual eligibility requirements vary depending on the broadband provider. They’re not set by the government or Ofcom.

Most providers only list either Universal Credit or Pension Credit as their requirement. If you are receiving another type of benefit, such as PIP (Personal Independence Payment), then it can be a minefield trying to find out if you’re eligible or not.

We’ve put together this table to make it easier:

Broadband Provider Eligibility Requirements  
Sky Universal Credit, Pension Credit Find out more
BT Universal Credit, Pension Credit Find out more
NOW Universal Credit, Pension Credit Find out more
Virgin Media Universal Credit, Pension Credit, PIP Find out more
Vodafone Universal Credit, Pension Credit, PIP, JSA, DLA, ESA Find out more


What proof do I need to provide?

Previously, you had to provide proof via a photo of any government-issued benefits form – suffice to say, this took a long time to process.

Thankfully most providers now use an automated system – they can gauge your eligibility from your National Insurance number alone.

BT have taken it a step further and use a 100% automated system to check your eligibility. That means, when you sign up for a BT social tariff, you will be given an approval (or denial) within seconds, all through their website.

But most of the broadband and energy companies listed on this website promise to check your eligibility within a few hours, so you won’t have to wait too long should you decide to go ahead.

How do I check my eligibility?

If you are in receipt of any sort of pension of benefit from the government, then you may be eligible. That may include Pension Credit,, PIP, Disability Living Allowance (DLA), ESA, Universal Credit, and a few other types of benefit.

Fuel poverty is an increasingly worry for a lot of Britons. In fact some research shows that, as many as 40% of households are now in “fuel poverty”.  The government must act now to increase the level of help available to householders – whether they are on benefits or not.

Analysts have warned of a further jump in the price cap from October, which could see the typical household paying £600 more per year.  That is of course on top of the existing price rises we’ve all seen lately.

This has led to calls for more help for households suffering from soaring payments.

We’ll keep this page updated with more news as we hear it.

26 thoughts on “Am I eligible for a social tariff?

  1. Hi there I am on state pension and disabled can I get better deal I am deaf and cannot use phone I am with shell just for broadband cheers

    1. Hi i just found out a few months ago that BT were doing an Home Essentials package which is £20 per month it turns out it was the same Download speed package that i was paying £31 for. Ring again as you are entitled by receiving P.i.p
      Hope this helps

  2. I have serious health problems, heart and lung disease and receive the following benefits due to these
    I do not pay for council tax
    I receive PIPS. Do I qualify for BT social tariff and how do I apply if so?

      1. I’m currently with Shell Energy and I want to switch as their charges have increased. I’m 72 and in receipt of Pension credit. They currently do not offer social tariffs. I was advised that I would pay a penalty if I switched. Us that correct

    1. Providers who offer social tariffs will offer information on how to apply on their website. Which provider are you considering?

  3. Hi am I eligible to social tariff broadband , I receive old age pension , company pension retired on Ill health with a pension ,I also receive a war pension for disability from army will I be able to claim this I also get PIP . Please advise

    1. Hi Paul, providing you have proof of receiving those benefits you should be eligible for a social broadband tariff from any provider.

    1. Many providers will accept Pension Credit as eligibility for their social tariff. Which provdier are you trying to sign up with?

  4. Stuck on your social contract. Earlier it said to enter postcode to check eligibility. There seems to be nowhere to enter my postcode.

    My postcode is ME16 9QQ

  5. As a disabled senior citizen receiving pension credit and Disability living allowance am I eligible for Water Social Tariff

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