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.
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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.