What Is The Digital UK Help Scheme?

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The Digital UK Help scheme

The Digital UK Help Scheme offers assistance to people the Government expects to have the most difficulty in making the switch to digital TV (see below). All people eligible for assistance under the Scheme will be contacted directly and invited to apply for help at the appropriate time.

Some seven million households are expected to qualify for help but you don't have to do anything because if you are eligible you will be sent more details well before your area switches to digital.

Who Is Eligible For Help Under The Scheme?

In order to qualify for assistance in switching to Digital TV one or more members of your houshold must be:
  • aged 75 years or over; or
  • have a significant disability and be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance; or
  • be registered blind or partially sighted
Assistance under the scheme is offered on a household basis so you can only be qualify once regardless of how many eligible individuals reside at your address.

In order to qualify for assistance you must satisfy at least one of the above criteria at some time during the nine-month period starting eight months before switchover is completed in your TV region.

Please Note:
You do NOT have to do anything right now as all qualifying households will be contacted directly and invited to apply for assistance at the appropriate time.

So, What Help Will Be Available If I Qualify?

You will be offered a choice of options - largely dependant on what services are available in your TV region - but essentially;
  • Equipment will be supplied to convert one television set to receive Digital TV.
Depending on your circumstances, the following may also available;
  • A replacement aerial.
  • Installation of the equipment and basic instruction in its use.

And What Options Will I Have?

Each household will be able to choose from the following Digital TV options:
  • A terrestrial Digital TV (Freeview) Set Top Box (STB) provided by the scheme and, if required, help with installation and use (see above)
  • An Integrated Digital Television set (for an extra charge)
  • A digital television recorder (PVR /DVR) or an integrated Digital Television (for an extra charge)
  • A free satellite TV service (FreeSat) - NOT Sky - (for an extra charge)
  • Money off a Digital TV subscription service, eg: Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision...

Ok, So How Much Will It Cost Me?

The basic service; installation of a single Freeview STB with aerial upgrade (if required) and instruction in the use of that equipment will only cost £40.

However if a member of the qualifying household is in receipt of an income-related benefit (eg: Income Support or Income Based Job Seeker's Allowance) or the Pension Credit (both guaranteed and savings credit in pension credit) there will be no charge for the service ie: it is absolutely free.

Either way, this represents an incredible saving over the actual cost of upgrading to Digital TV which could cost in excess of £200 if a replacement aerial is also required.

Spread The Word...

Whether you are eligible for assistance under the scheme or not you may know someone who is;
  • An elderly friend or relative
  • A friend or relative who is a carer
  • A local disabled group
If you think they might qualify for assistance but would otherwise be unable to afford the cost of switching to Digital TV please let them know about this scheme before they spend money they can ill afford.

Be Alert!

Sadly there seems to be an endless supply of con men (and women) out there who love to prey on the vunerable members of society and I am sure they will soon be going door to door with unsuitable  - and possibly dangerous - equipment (eg: old On Digital boxes) offering to upgrade the elderly or infirm to Digital TV for a 'bargain' price.

"Come on Luv, you don't wanna miss Corrie do yer, only one hundred notes"
Plus another hundred for adjusting the aerial...
And another for the box...
And another for the power lead...

I'm sure you get the picture.
The last thing I need is for some piece of scum to rip off my loved ones so please make sure your friends and relatives are warned and, if appropriate, get the help they are entitled to...

Other Guides

If you are interested in Digital TV and the Switchover process I have written some other guides on this topic which you may find helpful; " Digital Switchover, Freeview et al." and " The Great Big Digital TV Switchover Rip Off!". Read and enjoy!

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