What is a broadband social tariff?
Social tariffs are special discounted deals available for certain low-income customers. They're generally cheaper than typical broadband tariffs. They also aren't usually subject to price rises or exit fees.
Social tariffs are designed to act as a safety net for households that may otherwise struggle to afford broadband services. Research by the telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has shown that an estimated 4.2 million households in the UK are eligible, but just 4% of those eligibile are actually on a social tariff. That is around 4 million people who are missing out.
Who is eligible for social tariffs?
You're likely to be eligible for a social tariff if you receive a means-tested state benefit, such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit or legacy equivalents.
The exact requirements depend on the broadband provider in question – some only offer social tariffs to Universal Credit recipients, while others extend eligibility to those on Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment & Support Allowance.
Those who receive Guarantee Credit (a top-up to Pension Credit) are also usually eligible. Some providers - such as Hyperoptic, KCOM and Vodafone - also offer social tariffs to vulnerable households that receive non-means-tested benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment.
Are you eligible for a discounted broadband service?
Please speak to your broadband provider
List of providers on OFCOM website
* Each company has its own list of eligible benefits, but all include Universal Credit. Other benefits may include Pension Credit, Job Seekers’ Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, and Care Leavers’ Support.
Other support might be available to customers who cannot get online. If you’re struggling to pay your mobile phone or broadband bill, speak to your provider as soon as possible to see how they can help.
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Am I eligible for Pension Credit?
Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income. Pension Credit can also help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges.
You might get extra help if you’re a carer, severely disabled, or responsible for a child or young person. Pension Credit is separate from your State Pension. You can get Pension Credit even if you have other income, savings or own your own home.
Check your eligibility
Are you claiming all that you are entitled to?
Not all broadband providers offer social tariffs
Both the telecoms regulator (Ofcom) and the Digital Secretary have called for more broadband providers to offer social tariffs. Providers that don't offer social tariffs should consider the support they're providing to low-income households and whether they can do more.
EE, Plusnet, Shell Energy Broadband and TalkTalk are all big broadband providers that don't currently offer social tariffs for fixed broadband services.