Switching to a social tariff can save a benefit claimant some £250 a year and there are several providers who offer discounted rates. The scheme allows internet service providers to ask the DWP to automatically verify a customer’s benefits entitlement.
The providers have to reach out to the customer to ask their permission before they can be checked.
The streamlined process means people do not need to prove they claim benefits while on a tariff for those on low incomes, as they had to previously.
Sky and its subsidiary brand NOW have joined several other providers in signing up to the initiative.
Prior to the process being introduced, claimants had to verify their entitlement with the provider using Jobcentre letters or screenshots of their Universal Credit account.
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Sky currently offers those on Universal Credit or Pension Credit a discounted tariff of £20 a month, for either NOW Broadband Basics or Sky Broadband Basics.
Broadband social tariff use more than doubled in 2022, with 136,000 households now benefiting from the discounted rates.
However, many more claimants could be eligible as there are 4.2 million households on Universal Credit alone.
Citizens Advice Scotland recently suggested some 353,448 households in Scotland could be missing out on the cheaper deals, based on research by regulator Ofcom.
Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com, explained: “Providers often link their annual price rises to inflation, measured by either the consumer price index (CPI) or the retail price index (RPI).
“Both of these are around the highest they’ve been for 40 years, with the latest CPI at 10.7 percent and RPI at 14 percent.
“Although inflation may have fallen by the spring, most providers use figures from December and January to gauge how much their price increases will be.
“Some companies also add a small percentage of three to four percent on top of the CPI or RPI rates, meaning consumers could be looking at increases of up to 18 percent.
“Ofcom rules allow providers to do this, as long as it is mentioned when you sign up, so there isn’t much consumers can do to avoid these mid-contract rises if they are currently on a fixed-term deal.”