Published On:

Broadband tariff that could save pensioners hundreds | Personal Finance | Finance

Share This
Tags


The charity Independent Age is urging internet providers to better promote their broadband social tariffs, so more older people who are financially struggling can realise they could be paying as little as £12.50 per month for their broadband services on Virgin Media Essentials.

However, this isn’t the only option as there are currently over 30 broadband social tariffs available across the UK. The simplest way to discover if you’re eligible for a cheaper broadband package is to directly contact your provider.

If you’re currently receiving benefits such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Income Support, check the guide at the end of this article to see which providers include those benefits in their eligibility criteria. Recent research from the dedicated older people’s charity suggests that nearly half of State Pensioners (48%) on a low income have struggled to keep up with their broadband bill in the last six months.

It said the findings raise fears that the cost of living crisis has deepened the ‘digital divide’ and warns that older people in financial hardship may become even more isolated. The charity said that not being able to go online could mean that older people on low incomes are unable to access information about financial entitlements or services, miss out on savings by not being able to search for the best deals and lose vital social connections, reports the Daily Record.

Broadband social tariffs uptake remains shockingly low, with a mere 5.1 per cent of those eligible actually benefiting from them, leaving an estimated 4 million households in the dark about these potential savings.

Fran McSweeney, the Head of National Services at Independent Age, commented: “Social tariffs can be a lifeline to help older people who are struggling financially stay connected. The internet can help people in later life stay in touch with friends and family and to access information on financial entitlements, deals and services but it has to be affordable. If you receive a means-tested benefit, it’s vital that you find out if you’re eligible for a social tariff.”

She added, “You can find out whether you’re eligible and for a list of what providers are offering through the Ofcom website. These start at £12 per month and are designed with customers who need extra support in mind. Contact your current supplier for more information.”

Independent Age is actively encouraging older individuals who are scrimping on essentials to maintain broadband access to seek out unclaimed benefits that could bolster their finances. Assistance is available online at independentage.org or by contacting them directly on 0800 319 6789 for a complimentary and confidential welfare benefits check to determine eligibility for additional support.

For those interested, the complete rundown of social tariffs for broadband and mobile services is accessible via the Ofcom website here.

Social Tariffs explained

A social tariff could potentially save you around £200 each year. The fastest way to determine if you’re eligible for a social tariff is to contact your supplier directly and inquire – even if you don’t qualify, they may be able to suggest other methods to reduce your broadband bill.

Understanding whether the benefit you’re claiming qualifies for a social tariff can be quite perplexing, so we’ve compiled a list of all available social tariffs and the benefits that qualify for them. A new system implemented in 2022 allows broadband providers to quickly check eligibility by accessing a special Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) IT system – with the claimant’s consent.

The DWP‘s system will be able to confirm entitlement for the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-Related Employment Support Allowance

The providers listed below are taken from Ofcom’s latest guidance on social tariff broadband packages. Direct links to the broadband provider websites can be found here.

Please note that the broadband providers listed may not be available in your area. Those that cover the entire UK are marked as ‘UK’.

Universal Credit

  • BT – UK
  • EE Basic (Now offered through BT) – UK
  • 4th Utility – UK
  • Hyperoptic – Scotland, England and Wales
  • KCOM
  • NOW Broadband – UK
  • Sky Broadband – UK
  • Virgin Media – UK
  • Vodafone – UK

Pension Credit

Attendance Allowance

  • Hyperoptic – Scotland, England and Wales
  • KCOM

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) / Adult Disability Payment (ADP)

  • Hyperoptic – Scotland, England and Wales
  • KCOM
  • Vodafone – UK

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Income Support

Jobseeker’s allowance

Employment and support allowance

Care Leaver’s Support

  • Hyperoptic – Scotland, England and Wales
  • KCOM
  • Housing Benefit
  • Hyperoptic – Scotland, England and Wales

Reduced Earnings Allowance

10 social broadband tariff deals

Here are 11 to give you an idea of monthly costs, speeds available and eligibility.

BT Home Essentials (No Income)

  • Monthly cost: £15
  • Average broadband speed: around 36mbps
  • Eligibility: various benefits, see above list

BT Home Essentials (Unlimited 36Mbps)

  • Monthly cost: £20
  • Average broadband speed: around 36Mbps
  • Eligibility: various benefits, see above list

BT Home Essentials (Unlimited 67mbps)

  • Monthly cost: £23
  • Average broadband speed: around 67Mbps
  • Eligibility: various benefits, see above list

EE Basic (Now BT Home Essentials)

  • Monthly cost:from £15 – see BT social tariffs
  • Average broadband speed: around 36mbps
  • Eligibility: various benefits, see above list

Lothian Broadband Social Tariff

  • Monthly cost: £19.99
  • Average broadband speed: 100 Mbps
  • Eligibility: open to all

Sky Broadband Basics

  • Monthly cost: £20
  • Average broadband speed: 36Mbps
  • Eligibility: various benefits, see above list

NOW Broadband Basics

  • Monthly cost: £20
  • Average broadband speed: 36Mbps
  • Eligibility: various benefits, see above list

Virgin Media Essential Broadband

  • Monthly cost: £12.50
  • Average broadband speed: 15Mbps
  • Eligibility: various benefits, see above list

Virgin Media Essential Broadband Plus

  • Monthly cost: £20
  • Average broadband speed: 54Mbps
  • Eligibility: various benefits, see above list

Vodafone Fibre 2 Essentials

  • Monthly cost: £20
  • Average broadband speed: 73Mbps
  • Eligibility: various benefits, see above list



Source link

Most Popular News