BT Broadband Social Tariff – How To Get It

BT are one of the first companies to offer a “social tariff” for broadband, in the form of their “Home Essentials” plan. But is it any good, is it worth switching to, or should you stay with your regular broadband provider?

Hint: If you just want to find out how to sign-up for BT Home Essentials – as the link is quite difficult to find on the BT website – then here it is:

➡️  Click  THIS  link to go to the dedicated BT Home Essentials registration page

Keep reading below for our review of the BT Home Essentials plan, including details on average download speeds, and contract length.

What is a Social Tariff?

Social tariffs are essentially discounts available on broadband, energy, mobile contracts, and even on your water bills.

The social tariff scheme was launched by the UK government &  Ofcom in 2021, but it is only really in the last few months that the social tariff system has started to become more widely known.

Thankfully many broadband providers offer a special cheaper plan for those households who are eligible for the social tariff discount – in the case of BT, the plan is called the Home Essentials plan.

TIP: Make sure to read our review of the best broadband packages for social tariff households here.

Who are social tariffs aimed at?

If you are in receipt of benefits (such as Universal Credit or several others) then you are probably eligible to get a reduced monthly price on many of your utilities.

It sounds too good to be true, but it really isn’t.

The Social Tariff system is quite new, and not many people in the UK are aware of it – in fact, it was revealed recently that only 2% of eligible households actually receive any sort of Social Tariff. It was created to give some financial repireve to those households suffering the most from the cost of living crisis.

Be aware that social tariff discounts on broadband are a little different to the discounts you can get on your water bills… most broadband providers only check to make sure you receive benefits. They do not, for example, check your overall household income (like water companies do). So if you are not in receipt of any sort of benefit but your household income is very low, sadly this means that you probably aren’t eligible to get the Home Essentials range from BT.

So how can you save up to 70% off your broadband bills? The first step is to check that you are eligible.

BT have pioneered the Home Essentials plan – it is available across the UK and you can get it right now, assuming you meet the eligibility requirements. And what’s more, BT’s verification checks are pretty much instant, so there is no need to call them or wait around.

Is BT Home Essentials cheaper for a reason?

If you are worried that you will not be receiving the same level of service or download speeds as other full-price customers, then don’t worry.

The Social Tariff system is designed to provide a cost-effective way to get broadband without breaking the bank. It is intended only for those households struggling financially. However, the product itself is exactly the same as you would receive if you were paying full price. It uses the same ‘network’ and you aren’t going to be penalised for using it.

Of course, don’t expect lightning fast fibre optic for £15 a month, but if you only need standard broadband then it’s a great way of saving up to £144 a year for doing practically no legwork.

(If you’re looking for Superfast internet via the social tariff system, with speeds up to 150Mbps, then consider Hyperoptic).

What equipment will I get?

When you sign up to the BT Home Essentials plan, you’ll also receive a regular BT Smart Hub like this, absolutely free:


The BT Smart Hub (latest edition)

This is the same Wi-Fi router that BT provide to standard / full-price customers.

🔥How do I get BT Home Essentials?

It is surprisingly difficult to find the link to sign-up for the Home Essentials plan with BT, but once you find it, the process is pretty easy.

BT instantly verify your status and eligibility with the DWP, unlike most other internet providers. So if you are in a hurry to get set up, BT are a great choice because of the lack of delays in processing your application.

1. Here’s how to sign up now/switch to BT Home Essentials:

Firstly, click >> THIS <<  link to go to the dedicated BT Home Essentials registration page.

2. Then follow these instructions:

  • Enter your postcode on the above link, to see which BT Home Essentials plans are available. Both new and existing BT customers can apply.
  • Once you’ve picked a plan, you’ll go into the BT checkout.
  • As part of the checkout, BT will run an online eligibility check.
  • They’ll ask for your last name, date of birth and National Insurance number.
  • BT will check these details with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to see if you’re on one of the qualifying benefit(s).
  • You’ll get an instant response and, if eligible, you can complete your Home Essentials order straight away online. Great!

If you need any help with the signup process, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page and we’ll get right back to you.

How much can I save with BT Home Essentials?

The Home Essentials plan actually contains three different sub-plans so you need to choose the one best suited to your needs:

Home Essentials Unlimited Fibre Essential Home Essentials Unlimited Fibre Home Essentials Call Only
Fibre broadband with average speeds of 36Mbps Fibre broadband with average speeds of 67Mbps N/A
700 inclusive anytime minutes a month to UK mobiles and 01,02,03, 0845 and 0870 numbers excluding the Channel Islands Unlimited anytime calls to UK mobiles and 01,02, 03, 0845 and 0870 numbers excluding Channel Islands Unlimited anytime calls to UK mobiles and 01,02, 03, 0845 and 0870 numbers excluding Channel Islands
£15 / month £20 / month £10 / month

We’d recommend the Home Essentials Unlimited Fibre plan, for £20 a month, for most users. The equivalent plan for customers who pay the full price is the Fibre 2 plan, which costs £33.99 a month.

If however your household budget is more limited, then the basic £15 a month plan still includes average speeds of 36Mbps, so it’s still pretty fast. 🙂

The cheapest plan – for £10 a month – does not include any broadband internet access. This plan is for those who want to use the landline and make unlimited phone calls.

Remember that all three of these plans are for 12 months but you can cancel at any time during that 12 month period without any exit or termination fees.

Do I qualify for BT Home Essentials? (Check my eligibility)

To be able to get the social tariff discount, you (the main billpayer) needs to be in receipt of any ONE of the following:

If you are in receipt of another benefit not listed here, such as PIP or Carer’s Allowance, then BT sadly do not accept these at the current time. However, other broadband providers like Vodafone certainly do – find out how to sign up.

BT advise that there are further eligibility rules to be aware of, for JSA claimants:

You need to be receiving income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance to qualify for Home Essentials. People on contribution-based only JSA are not eligible. If you receive both income and contribution-based JSA, your income-based JSA must be higher.

FAQs about BT Home Essentials

Here are some common questions about signing up for the BT Home Essentials broadband package. If you need more help, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

Is this offer open to new and existing customers?

Yes. You can join the BT Home Essentials plan if you are a new customer, or be switched to it if you are an existing BT customer. Great!

Will there be a credit check?

Yes, there will be a credit check, but only if you are a new customer.

If you are an existing customer then a ‘soft’ credit check will take place. This is the same for most if not all broadband providers and won’t be recorded as a search.

If you don’t want to risk a credit check, then Vodafone offer a similar broadband plan for social tariff customers, without any credit checks.

If I come off benefits, am I still eligible?

Because BT offer only a year-long contract, it doesn’t matter if you are on benefits now but aren’t in the future. The contract is guaranteed for a year; so you can continue to use it for the whole year. This is fine and part of their terms and conditions, so don’t worry!

If you are on the same benefits or income support when the 12 month contract expires, then BT have confirmed that you can take out a brand new 12 month contract again for the following year.

What’s the contract term for the Home Essentials plan?

The Home Essentials Plan comes with a 12 month contract.

However, you can choose to leave or swap their plan at any time, there are no cancellation or early termination (exit) charges.

When a customer reaches month 11 of their Home Essentials Plan, BT will contact you by email/letter to let you know that you’re nearing the end of the “price guarantee” under their Home Essentials Plan. This means that BT will need to run another eligibility check on the 12 month anniversary of the plan.

How frequently will BT check that I’m eligible for  Home Essentials?

BT say they well run an eligibility check every 12 months. If a customer is still eligible for a Home Essentials Plan and wants their plan to continue, they’ll renew their plan for another 12 months.


27 thoughts on “BT Broadband Social Tariff – How To Get It

  1. The link to BT Home Essentials social tariff just takes you to an offers page. No mention of social anything…

  2. The Home Essential prices have changed. You now have to pay £23 for the faster 80/20 FTTC package and is now broadband only. An extra £10pm is added for the phone, which I declined, so will only have broadband.

  3. This page is out of date, I’m a new customer and I can’t set it up on their website, there’s only a list of numbers to call if you’re with other providers

  4. Hi just want to tell you that your web site ref the social Tariff could be clearer. The £10 tariff it seems is only available in non fibre areas, but this was not clear on web site.

    I did set up a tariff and your operator who did this was very helpful

  5. What is not very clear is – that if you want the included 700 mins call package then you have to upgrade to a Digital phone line (plugged into the router) and you may have to lose your phone number. I was trying to upgrade to BT Home essentials and they kept telling me that the £15 tariff with the included 700 calls was not available to me – but they wouldn’t explain why. I’ve since been doing lots of research and I believe it is because i stated that i needed to keep my landline – and also i don’t think Digital voice is available yet where i live – so therefore the cheapest option which is advertised at £15 here and everywhere else (MSE, uswitch etc) – is being quoted to me for £20, and the £20 option is being quoted to me for £23. In my area the fastest speed i can get apparently is 36Mbps so its pointless going for the higher option. They also said that I would not be able to add any call packages (eg the BT 500 or 700 minutes etc). PAYG will fast add up to this being a very expensive package in the end rather than with minutes included.

  6. They won’t allow a social tariff if you have more than one active line, even if that line is at full rate.

  7. Hi

    Can someone advise me on how to apply for Bt Social tariff please i cant seem to find an application page from the provided registration link

  8. W my husband has been trying for the last 6 months to get BT to move us to the Social Tariff with refusal each time. We qualify as I am on ESA Income Related and they accept that but state we cannot be moved to it unless we pay to finish our current Contract. We have argued and tried as the bills are becoming more and more unaffordable but the Managers just tell the call centre staff no! This is unacceptable as I qualify and have done since we started our Contract but of course they did not advise us of it so have made a fortune at our expense and continue to do so. If on site states they must move us over at no charge yet they are refusing stating we must pay up Contract to start a new one in my name. How dare they treat us this way and there is no help out there either!

    1. I had this back in March, a rather horrible man said the only way I could change my current£86 tariff which ends veg October was to pay the difference first so been stuck. Hopefully now I have option to change my tariff as contract is ending I will get a nicer patrolling to help me.

  9. Hello,
    The registration page for BT Essentials seems to have disappeared. There seems to only be one page of info on their website and it has no links to anything else . Only phone numbers if transferring from other providers.
    I accessed the registration page quite easily last week when first looking into joining BT. Any idea what’s happened?

    1. I’m having exactly the same problem I done the same thing. Wish I had just completed my order last week.

  10. I cannot afford what I am paying at the moment I tried to call with no one answering could you get in touch please thankyou

  11. Re. switching broadband: BT’s Social Tariff

    The big catch with BT social tariff is that they will not switch anyone without upgrading the supply line to full fibre capacity (if available in your area), even if you are not moving to a full fibre contract. It can take some months to connect this and complete the switch – meanwhile you may be paying out-of-contract, double-your-old-price bills, instead of a cheaper price than before.
    To circumvent this careful timing will be essential, but in some circumstances avoiding excess cost may be difficult to achieve (though still worthwhile over years long term at the worst).
    P.S. Nearly six months now and still waiting!

  12. BT’s social Tariffs only seem to be available for Fibre networks.
    We are still stuck on the old legacy copper wire network from the mid twentieth century and we get at best 2Mbps.
    We’d qualify for social tariff, but instead are stuck paying nearly £60 per month because we can’t even get any of the special offers which again are available just on fibre.

  13. I am a current BT broadband user and the account holder at the house where my daughter and I live. My circumstances have changed, where I am a registered carer for my brain damaged daughter, who lives with me. We both use the internet to assist with day to day needs. I receive carers allowance and my daughter UC and PIP.
    Is a social tariff applicable?

  14. I am with vodafone regarding my home broadband over the last 4 years. I requested and submitted their application in order to switch to their social tarrif on 18.12.22. It has been a month now but no progreess shown. For ho long do I have to wait until start looking for another provider?

    1. Hi Filippos

      Thanks for your feedback, we are keen to hear from any others who might be seeing delays like this.

      As it has been a month, I would suggest to re-submit it, as it’s possible that Vodafone have been inundated with requests and your application may have been lost.

  15. I would like to put my elderly mother or a social tariff package but she needs to make and receive the occasional call to/from Australia where her brother lives. Is this possible on any of these deals.

  16. I have been trying to apply for social tariff but am unable to my if and password are not recognised please if you could help I find it difficult to use online could you explain thank you ps I would prefer to speak to someone

  17. I live with my mother now and want to have the social tariff broadband on a separate phone line to my mother. There was already a second line put into her house by her previous employer DWP so she could work from home, this line is now dormant as she has retired. How do I get this line reactivated so that I could have the social tariff broadband. I am in receipt of Universal Credit. The phone number of the second line that was previously paid for by DWP is 200835. I would be grateful if you could advise me how I would go about reactivating this line as a new BT customer, in order to get the social tariff broadband.

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