Citizens Advice Henley has expressed concern that people in need are not taking advantage of cheap broadband and mobile phone schemes set up specially to help them. Loosely termed “social tariffs” or “essential broadband”, these schemes are discounted deals intended for those on Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, and some other benefits.
Statistics show that only 1.2% of those eligible to register for these low tariffs have done so, although they could save over £100 a year.
Social tariffs are provided in the same way as normal phone and Internet packages, but at a lower price. Network providers liaise with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to ascertain customers’ eligibility, and the DWP is required to provide only the necessary information, so that personal information remains safe.
At the time of writing, not all telecom companies offer social tariffs but it is possible for those who qualify to switch to a supplier that does provide them. The usual fees for switching contracts, leaving a contract early or terminating them have in many cases been scrapped for those on benefits who qualify for these tariffs – but check with your supplier to make sure.
More information is available on the Citizens Advice website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk or you can call Adviceline on 0808 278 7907. You can also go to https://www.gov.uk and search for “cheaper broadband” or to https://www.ofcom.org.uk (search “social tariffs”).