Southern Water provide four help schemes for those having financial issues paying their water bill, as they understand the problems many face in difficult economic times.
This scheme is for those claiming JSA, ESA, income support or pension credit. The Job Centre often considers paying Southern Water directly from your benefits and will take a fixed amount if you fall into £50 arrears to cover what you owe. If you want to be considered for this assistance scheme you can call Southern Water or complete and online application form.
This system is for those who can prove they can start paying any owed water bill arrears in regular instalments. If they do so the company will credit your account with an amount equal to what you pay.
The number is paid annually if you successfully make your payments weekly, fortnightly or monthly. You must owe Southern
If you satisfy a certain criteria, use a large amount of water supplied by a water meter, you may be able to apply for a bill reduction. The will reduce your bill by £410 between April 2015 to March 2016 if you qualify for the scheme. You, or someone in your household must be receiving one of the following tax credits or benefits:
· Child Tax Credit (more than the family element)
· Housing Benefit
· Income-based JSA
· Income Support
· Means-tested Council Tax Benefit (not including reductions/discounts)
· Pension Credit
· Working Tax Credit
· Income related ESA
And also be either responsible for three or more children that are living at home and under 19 in full time education, or you, your child or person who receives the benefit have a specific medical condition that means the water usage is higher than normal. The medical conditions are:
· Abdominal stoma
· Crohn’s disease
· Desquamation (flaky skin disease)
· Eczema, psoriasis or varicose ulceration (weeping skin disease)
· Ulcerative colitis
· Renal failure (where they need home dialysis)
· Another condition which means they have to use a lot of extra water
To apply you can complete an online application form, but must also send some supporting documents as evidence. These can be:
· A photocopy of a prescription form/doctor’s certificate
· A photocopy of the latest ‘notice of entitlement’ to Child Benefit for each child
· A photocopy of the latest ‘notice of entitlement’ for benefits or tax credit
· A doctor’s certificate or a letter from a GP or consultant confirming that this condition needs extra water
In the case your Southern Water charges are worth 5% or more of your household’s total income after housing cost deductions, you could qualify for discounted Essential Tariff for future payments. There is also an online form for this – taking around 20-30 minutes to complete - if you do not wish to call. You will need to have your payment reference number, income and expenditure details, NI number and personal details to hand when doing so.
Completing the online form
All of the above tariffs and schemes require you to fill out a Financial Assistance application form. If you have any trouble doing so, don’t forget you can seek advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau Money Advice Service or StepChange Debt Charity who can do a simple online debt check for you.