The BBC has reported that only one in twenty claimants who are eligible for social tariff broadband have actually signed up, with 4.3 million potentially eligible people apparently missing out. We’d like to hear about your experience if you’ve signed up for social tariff broadband or what made you decide against it.

Claimants on a range of benefits are eligible for social tariff broadband deals.

All the major suppliers offer a cheaper deal if you are on Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support.

Some also extend their offer to PIP claimants.

Prices range from £10 to £20 a month with speeds from 15 to 100 Mbits, depending on the supplier.

The Ofcom website has a full list of suppliers and prices, with links to their individual terms and conditions.

Citizens Advice estimates that one million people have cancelled their broadband in the last year because of the cost of living, with UC claimants 12 times more likely to have done so than non-claimants.

Yet social tariff deals are not proving popular and Citizens Advice wants Ofcom to "hold firms' feet to the fire" to improve their take-up.

But is it just lack of awareness of these schemes that is holding people back? Or is it that mobile phones are a necessity while home broadband is an unaffordable luxury for many claimants, no matter how cheap the deal?

Please let us know your opinion of the scheme in the comments section.

You can read the full story on the BBC website.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Kat Cohen · 8 months ago
    Michelle I just typed in BT social tariff and it came up. This was back in January so I don't know if they stopped offering to new customers? 
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    Whiskers · 8 months ago
    Basically it is not advertised and I only found out about it by accident. The precursor to BT Home Essentials was BT Basic. Applied for my mother in law as she is on pension credit and just for the phone it was £5.16, she has been on this since 11/2020. Back then phone and broadband was £10.07
    She now wants broadband to watch Neighbours as it is coming back to Freeve on Amazon and they are no longer supplying new broadband on copper so it will have to be fiber at £15.00 per month. All rather a rigmarole as there is plenty of copper capacity at our exchange since FTTP was done in our village. 
    Also when there is a power cut you cannot use your phone so you are totally isolated. On copper you could use an old phone and get through to your power company and report you outage as the system was not dependent on your electricity. I have kept an old touch tone phone specifically for this purpose.   
    In my opinion this is a step backwards as there is no backup like the old copper system had  and no one can ring in or out in a power cut.

    Link to BT openreach that explains what's happening.


    An even better link  to AGE UK


    The explanations here are less technical and give more advice for various scenarios. 
    people aged 70 and over
    people with additional needs
    people who only have a landline (and not broadband)
    people with telecare alarms
    people with no mobile signal at home.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    James Jamieson · 8 months ago
    I applied for the social tariff and received it a £12 per month for 12 months however the change over is a lie.
    To obtain the system you lose access to all the phone points in your houses and your copper wire landline.
    You have to then purchase 2 phones and use a system called VOIP. ( voice over Internet protocol). The main phone is then plugged into your router behind the TV. (Yes, I said behind Steve) and the other into an electrical shocked. They are not easy to set up or obtain a Voip account. 
    I have also been informed that you cannot ring 999.
    All copper wires run by BT will end in 2025 leaving every BT phone useless.
    The Great British people are being conned and it needs brought to the attention of the press. James Jamieson. 
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    Dana · 8 months ago
    I’m on full pip but because I’ve not moved over to universal credit I don’t qualify. 

    I can’t see why people on pip would fail to qualify for this. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      frank · 6 months ago
      @Dana Im on the old system & i get it,they are lying about that for sure,go & get advise from your local benefit advisory office.
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    Helen · 8 months ago
    My son applied for and got social tariff with BT. He had previously been with a company that he didn’t have to have a contract with as he was on a trial 3 month lease in his flat. If he decided the place was not for him he did not want to be stuck with a 12 or 24 month contract. That obviously came in at a higher price but he/we felt that was the best option at the time. Unfortunately, that carried on for 18 months because he did not change it once he settled into a permanent lease for his flat. Good job I saw Martin Lewis talking about it and asked him who he was with now! It has saved him £30+ a month and he has a faster broadband service than he had before! 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    A. Reid · 8 months ago
    WHY was my comment of a few minutes ago removed?! 
    I have cataracts and it was difficult tto to write it.
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    Matthew · 8 months ago
    I've had no problem with the Virgin Media social tariff of £12.50 per month.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    A. Reid · 8 months ago
    I never paid attention to it simply because I cannot afford the £15 a month as a regular commitment. Nor can I afford a PC or laptop for cable now. Heck, with the vast indefensible rise in mortgage rates I am completely unable to pay for gas, electric or either of two water rates etc. I just about get my cheap mobile paid thanks to family but they can't do more, and I am ashamed I have to let them pay that. I need a mobile phone in case of emergency. No way at all I can afford Broadband even if relatively cheap, even if I had a laptop.

    I am on a full National Insurance pension and PIP. It isn't so much income as outgoings that is the crusher.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    SUE GREGORY · 8 months ago
    I also have the BT social tariff at £20 a month unlimited broadband and free calls any time. I was paying £40 + for exactly the same, without free calls. So in my opinion it is great. I found out about via Martin Lewis Show. No issues streaming etc, speeds are as before.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Andrea Mardon · 8 months ago
    1. I didn't know anyone other than BT offered this, information is poor.      2. BT said it's only for fibre customers and, despite the promises of Nicola Sturgeon, rural Scotland still doesn't have fibre even though we're only 4 miles from town.                                                         3. BT offered a limited service. Their unlimited service is not actually unlimited as you're cut off under the fair usage clause. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Kat Cohen · 8 months ago
    Michelle, and anyone else interested; I'm on the BT social tariff, £15 a month and I get some free landline calls included too, no credit check required in my case, speeds fine, I stream stuff from u tube and have done online zoom and teams video interviews. I signed for one year and I think they check each year if your still on UC, I also live in a Welsh village and still never had any issues over speed or coverage 
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    Sierra Sierra · 8 months ago
    I applied for Vodafone's social tariff broadband and qualified on the eligibility criteria. All was going well until they declined me on credit checking.  I was advised to check Experian and Equifax; my Experian credit score was excellent at 991 out of 999. Equifax was substantially lower at 741 out of 1000 but that was still classed as very good. I appealed against the decision but it was upheld. I can reapply in 90 days. In the meantime, that credit check has left a hard footprint on my credit file, which could damage my credit score. I daren't apply anywhere else in case I am declined again because all those hard searches will affect my credit file and could lead to more decline decisions. Is that why the take-up rate is so low for social tariff broadband  - because people can't pass the credit check?
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Florrie · 8 months ago
      @Sierra Sierra I am a vodofone customer, PAYG £10 phone and they rang up and offered me a £6 deal.  I accepted in principle and they rang back and said I failed the credit check!  I really don't understand it either. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    B. · 8 months ago
    I have a social tariff with BT and am very happy with it - it includes unlimited free phone calls which brought my bill down even more as they were expensive with my previous provider even though they were one of the cheapest I could find. The main problem I can imagine with this is that they keep it quiet! I can't even remember how I eventually found out about these social tariffs, but once I did I had to search for it specifically, it wasn't visible on BT's website at the time I signed up. I imagine there are a lot of claimants still who have no idea this is available.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Whiskers · 8 months ago
      @Michelle Download a BT price guide here

      Page 39 lists the Home essentials packages.

      It is not advertised and some BT staff haven't even heard about it.
       You need Adobe reader or a browser that can open PDF files.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Michelle · 8 months ago
      @B. Hi, how did you find this with BT with unlimited phone calls when it’s not on their or other websites. I would appreciate your help as looking for my elderly parents. Thank you. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jules · 8 months ago
    I'm now paying more on this, than I would with other suppliers 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Matthew · 8 months ago
      @Jules Hi, Jules. Why is that? Virgin do a deal for £12.50 per month.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Kath · 8 months ago
    I am not sure I could get it as I am on contribution ESA and PIP, I did look into it but it seemed to be  income related only from what I could tell. information was very sparse. As it happens I am on a very good deal  for just over £12 a month for broadband only at a decent speed, so it doesnt matter for me at the moment about not applying, I am better off speed wise staying as I am .
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      James Jamieson · 8 months ago
      @Kath Pip alone should get you it even if you are with Vodafone. I receice my state pension and I get it. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Michelle · 8 months ago
      @Kath Hi, like myself being on contribution ESA you are not entitled to anything at all as you are probably aware. 
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    VikingMermaid · 8 months ago
    For me the issue is in part owing to my ADHD - the overwhelm of trying to compare like with like (except often it's NOT like with like - as each company has different speeds as well as different rates - and for many of the offers you need to fulfil certain conditions, eg live within a certain catchment area).

    Additionally, although I had heard mention of the scheme on the radio (caught the tail end of R4's Money Box Live a while back) it doesn't appear to be widely advertised.

    For me, my broadband is part of my Sky package (basic package + broadband).  I have to have Sky for television, as our reception here is really lousy (without it I can only get BBC2).  I wish I'd never signed up for Sky broadband, as I don't know how the figures for each breakdown, so I can't compare the social tariffs available (only two for me, I think, as we don't have cable here). 

    And I have avoided phoning Sky to discuss my package* because I can't hold onto the information they give regarding varying offers, because of my severely impaired short-term memory (resulting in the aforementioned overwhelm). (*I am still paying for a package which includes landline calls - and I haven't had a landline for several years now!)


  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Richard CM · 8 months ago
    We are on a social tariff with BT. we had an incorrect billing issue being overcharged, contacting BT took two attempts and on both attempts the initial call handler persistently tried to upsell BB to a higher tariff before I could speak to a person who could help me.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Raindaisy · 8 months ago
    1. Only the person who is named on the benefit can claim the social tariff.
    2. This essentially blocks millions of carers who manage budgeting for thousands of disabled people with cognitive disabilities,  ie stroke, dementia , Learning Disabilities and Mental illness. 
    3. There is no compromise. The person making the claim for social tariff MUST have a bank account. Again this effectively blocks thousands of households from claiming. 
    4. There has little or NO advertising of the scheme!! These profit companies want to keep it quiet!!
    5. IF you do change to a social tariff, it's a lesser service, and you will have to return your equipment....pronto. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Jillian. · 8 months ago
      @Raindaisy I cancelled my contract with bt as the bill was in my name and the income based esa in my husband's name. I even managed to get the over £200 cancellation fee cancelled as I told them I'd been with them for over 30 years and could no longer pay the £62 a month it had gone up to. I was prepared to pay the cancellation fee to get out of the contract as it was still going to be cheaper.
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Jojo · 8 months ago
    Went on to virgins £20 social tarrif and streaming box. Only me at home and it's fab for me. Not really noticed any difference with the broadband and I'm so happy with the cheaper bill as I am struggling lots!
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Shaun · 8 months ago
    The social tariff with Virgin Media has a broadband speed that is so slow, it is simply not worth having. Their "Essential Broadband" is £12.50 a month for 15Mbps broadband speed, which is very slow. It is like hiring a cheap car which travels at walking speed!!  Secondly, it is only available to certain people on low incomes, not to everyone on low incomes. A person has to receive specific benefits to quality, but not all low income families receive those specific benefits. For example, a disabled person not working cannot qualify unless they receive ESA, a pensioner with only a state pension does not quality unless they receive Pension Credit, a carer does not quality unless they receive Universal Credit.  Virgin Media does not realise there are people on low incomes who do not receive the benefits listed on their criteria list. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      James Jamieson · 8 months ago
      @Shaun Go social tariff with Vodafone on fibre. Its only £12 per month and is 38mbps. 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Matthew · 8 months ago
      @Shaun Hi, Shaun. I'm on the Virgin Media Essential Broadband for £12.50 and have no problems with the speed. I'm wondering if you're a gamer, or do other things that need a faster speed? I just watch Youtube and Netflix and a wee bit of browsing.
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