Thousands of people on Universal Credit could be missing out on £500 help for water bills – how to apply | The Sun
THOUSANDS of people on Universal Credit could be missing out on £500 in help for water bills – here's how to apply.
Millions of households are being clobbered by eye-watering hikes to bills including energy, fuel, food, and water too.
Customers are paying up to £36 a year more for their water bills after suppliers hiked prices in April.
Some parts of the UK saw above inflation rises, including Essex and Suffolk, where the average bill went up from £223 to £246 a year.
The hikes led Ofwat, the water regulator, to call on firms to provide more support for struggling customers.
But there are ways to slash your water bill if you're struggling to pay it.
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Universal Credit claimants – and those on a number of benefits – can apply to the WaterSure scheme to save hundreds of pounds on their bill each year.
Under the scheme, you may be able to cap your bill, but to qualify, you need to already have a water meter installed, and prove you need to use a lot of water.
You also need to have three or more children under the age of 19 living in the house, and receive child benefit for them.
Or, you need to prove you have a medical condition that you need additional water for.
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That could be conditions like weeping skin diseases such as psoriasis, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Suppliers cap the cost of water bills under this scheme at the average household bill your water company charges.
Under the scheme, Universal Credit claimants can also save money on their water bills by moving to a social tariff with their supplier.
Support ranges from a cap on prices to discounts of up to 90% and you need to meet your local provider's eligibility criteria.
With the average water bill in the UK at around £410, according to industry group Water UK, that could be a saving of £369, depending where you live.
Customers typically need to have a household income of less than £16,500, excluding benefits, to get these tariffs.
You may also need to be receiving benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance, Housing Benefits, Universal Credit or Pension Credit.
To apply for the help, you'll need to ask your water company for a form to fill out.
To find out who your water supplier is, use the Consumer Council for Water's website or the Ofwat website.
What other water bill help can you get?
Suppliers also offer their own schemes, such as the Yorkshire Water and Thames Water schemes.
Some suppliers may even offer to reduce or wipe your debt as well if you're struggling to pay your water bills.
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Yorkshire Water, for example, offers awards to customers who are in arrears of between £50 and £2,000 to help them pay off their debt.
While South East Water will also offer grants to those in debt under its Helping Hand scheme – your debt must have been built up over a number of years.
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