Easier for Sky customers to get cheaper internet thanks to DWP scheme

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  • Sky is the first major connectivity provider to join DWP initiative making it easier for benefits claimants to get discounted broadband and mobile tariffs

  • Automatic verification means claimants do not have to repeatedly prove their benefit claim status to access discounted social tariffs

  • Switching to a social tariff could save claimants up to £180 a year

This system makes it easier than ever for low-income families to sign up to discounted broadband which could save households as much as £180 a year compared to industry average tariffs.

Introduced last summer, the government scheme lets internet service providers – with claimants’ permission – ask the DWP to automatically verify their customers’ benefit entitlement.

This means people do not need to actively prove they claim benefits whilst on a tariff designed for those on low incomes, as they did previously, often as frequently as every month.

Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression Mims Davies said:

It’s positive to see a major provider, such as Sky, sign up to our scheme, making it easier for families to access cheaper broadband and mobile tariffs in difficult times, and I call on other providers to follow suit in offering this type of tariff for those in need.

Claimants who think they might be eligible for one of these tariffs, should contact their provider.

This is just one of the ways we are working to help households during these tough times as part of the government’s £37 billion support package for those most in need. Do use the DWP benefits calculator, which is a helpful tool for those looking to see if they could access wider support.

Stephen van Rooyen, Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer, Sky, UK & Europe, said:

We know how important connectivity is to our customers, which is why we are focussed on ways we can support them to say online. As well as support with bills, we also provide existing, eligible customers with a broadband and mobile social tariff, helping them stay connected for a significantly reduced cost. The Department for Work and Pensions eligibility tool is a useful step forward, enabling us to more easily confirm eligibility.

Sky and its subsidiary brand NOW join a growing list of providers signing up to the government initiative to help millions access cut price broadband, with WightFibre already signed up to the scheme.

Before the new system was introduced, people were regularly required to verify their entitlement to providers with Jobcentre letters or screenshots of their Universal Credit account.

The availability of social tariffs has been strengthened recently thanks to a drive by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to encourage telecommunicators to expand their range of cheaper deals.

Broadband social tariff take-up more than doubled in 2022 to 136,000 households and the cross-government Help for Households programme, which aims to help people with the increased cost of living, recently launched a UK-wide public awareness campaign to drive awareness and uptake further.

Those in receipt of benefits interested in exploring broadband tariff options should visit Ofcom’s website to view the full list of options on offer from providers.

Additional Information

  • DWP launched its automatic entitlement checker back in August.

  • The benefits that the DWP’s system will be able to verify entitlement for are:

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

  • The new system centres on customer consent, requiring internet providers to seek permission from customers before approaching DWP to verify eligibility.

  • The Department is committed to protecting claimants’ data and the information DWP shares is strictly limited to confirming individual’s entitlement to a qualifying benefit at the time of contact.

  • There are numerous social tariffs on offer for those receiving Universal Credit and other means tested benefits, and DWP is encouraging claimants to check their entitlement to the growing list of important services accessible at cut-price rates. Other examples include help with health costs, discounted railcards, and Healthy Start vouchers for pregnant women and young children.

  • Anyone who thinks they could be eligible for a social tariff is urged to use an online benefit calculator, which can help people access support. For further information on help with the cost of living visit the Help for Households website.

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