Disabled people urged to check on eligibility for social tariffs on broadband

Wed,24 August 2022

Broadband bills could be cut for millions of low-income households under Government plans to encourage 'social tariffs'.

The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has launched a new scheme aimed at providing broadband access at a 'social tariff' to people who receive certain benefits.

It is part of the Government's approach encouraging private companies and others to support people most hit by the cost-of-living crisis.

Internet service providers will verify – with customers' permission – whether they are in receipt of a relevant benefit and therefore eligible for the extra financial support.

The Government has called on all broadband providers to offer and promote social tariffs – discounted broadband and mobile deals for people on Universal Credit and other benefits. Only 1.2% of those eligible have so far taken advantage of such a package.

Virgin Media O2 has announced it will join up to the scheme.

The DWP claims customers on social tariffs could save over £100 a year. The new system will also simplify the process by removing the need for customers to prove their entitlement to broadband providers as regularly as every month. Social tariffs are available to eligible customers in 99% of the country following Government-led negotiations with broadband companies.

As different broadband providers offer different social tariffs, the DWP says benefit claimants should visit Ofcom's website to see the options they might be eligible for.

DR UK Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said "I hope that some Disabled people on benefits can enjoy these reduced broadband charges but with the hike in energy bills just round the corner, many Disabled people on benefits must be wondering whether they can afford broadband at all.

"The Government should now move to ask energy companies to implement a social tariff for gas and electricity charges for all benefit claimants".