Urgent warning for Brits on Universal Credit missing out on £200 bill help each year as one million are cut off

RD2TXM UK Universal Credit form with of a pile of unpaid utility bills

AN urgent warning has been issued for Brits on Universal Credit missing out of £200 a year in bill help.

Around one million people cut off their broadband in the last year due to rising costs, new research has found.

Around one million people cut off their broadband in the last year

The survey carried out by Citizens Advice found those on Universal Credit (UC) were six times more likely to have stopped their internet than those who are not on the benefit.

People claiming UC but still paying for broadband are more than four times more likely to be behind on their bills, the charity said.

It warned that the essential service was becoming out of reach for large numbers of households.

Citizens Advice also found that despite the group being among the most eligible for social tariffs, uptake is as low as 5%.

Ofcom figures show 95% of 4.3million eligible households are missing out on saving £200 on broadband costs each year.

It means that £824million of support going unclaimed.

Citizens Advice chief executive Dame Clare Moriarty said: “People are being priced out of internet access at a worrying rate.

“Social tariffs should be the industry’s safety net, but firms’ current approach to providing and promoting them clearly isn’t working. The people losing out as a result are the most likely to disconnect.

“As providers continue to drag their feet in making social tariffs a success, it’s clear that Ofcom needs to hold firms’ feet to the fire.”

Walnut Unlimited surveyed 6,000 UK adults online including a total of 1,215 people in receipt of Universal Credit between January 9 and February 8.

In August, HOAR called on the government, regulator Ofcom and suppliers to do more to support struggling customers. 

We launched a tool with cost of living champions Nous to help highlight how much customers could save.

Struggling households can slash costs by signing up to a social broadband tariff now.

One woman told HOAR how she shaved £300 off her broadband bill signing up to one.

Ofcom has a list on its website of all the providers that offer the tariffs too.

Be aware that some suppliers may charge you a penalty if you leave a tariff mid-contract.

Always remember that the exact amount you’ll save by switching will depend on how much you were paying for your broadband before.

How do you find a social tariff and who is eligible?

Applying for a social tariff changes depending on who you are signing up with.

Providers offer different packages, so it’s worth shopping around for the best deals.

You can check other prices on the market by using comparison websites such as moneysupermarket.com or Uswitch.

For example, BT offers two different packages with different speeds – one is £15 a month and another is £20 a month.

Meanwhile, NOW offers a social broadband package for £20. Plus, Vodafone’s Essentials broadband deal is £12.

Some of the benefits that qualify you for a social tariff include: Universal Credit, Employment and support allowance and Jobseeker’s Allowance.

But each provider has its own eligibility criteria, so bear that in mind when searching around for deals.

If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible, HOAR has come up with an easy tool to help you check.

You can save money on your mobile phone contract through social tariffs too.

EE offers its Basics package for mobile phone customers for £12, while VOXI has its own £10 monthly plan.

For the full list of tariffs available now and more information see our round up.

You’ll have to check each telecom provider to see how to apply – you’ll often have to do this online or over the phone.