Certain medical conditions and disabilities which require high water usage may qualify for help with water bills. Find out if you’re eligible.
If you or someone you know is living with a disability, you may be able to get help with your water bills. Of the schemes which provide reduction to bills and discounts to water bills, the most commonly used is WaterSure.
In particular, this scheme could benefit those with a disability or medical condition that requires a lot of water usage. So this could include those with Crohn’s disease, abdominal stomas or ulcerative colitis who receive certain benefits, for instance.
But what is the WaterSure scheme exactly? How much of a reduction to water bills does it provide? Who’s eligible, and how do you apply? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the WaterSure scheme. It may also be worth checking out our guide to getting help with your water bills.
What is the WaterSure Scheme?
WaterSure is a government-backed scheme which helps vulnerable people and families with their water bills. Specifically, it puts a cap on the amount eligible households have to pay, so they don’t have to pay more than the average water bill for the area. As such, water and sewerage services are kept at an affordable level.
Find out the average water bill in the UK.
While the scheme isn’t limited to those with disabilities, it does help those with certain medical conditions claiming benefits, whose water usage is high.
In order to qualify for the scheme, you need to be on a water meter so your usage can be measured, or you should be waiting to have one installed. If you’re thinking about getting one, find out about the pros and cons of getting a water meter.
We’ll be referring to the WaterSure scheme in England here, but it’s worth noting that there’s a similar WaterSure scheme in Wales.
Am I eligible for WaterSure?
To qualify for WaterSure, you must:
- Have high but essential water usage – this can be for medical reasons, but also if you have three or more children in your home
- Have a water meter, be waiting for one to be installed, or have assessed usage if your property can’t have a meter installed
- Receive certain benefits
What benefits do I need to be on?
If you or someone in your household are on one of the following benefits, you should qualify for WaterSure with all suppliers:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income Support
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit (except families in receipt of the family element only)
Other water suppliers may offer WaterSure if you receive:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
However, this isn’t offered across the board, so be sure to check with your water supplier.
What medical conditions qualify for WaterSure?
These medical conditions can typically require high water usage:
- Crohn’s disease
- Abdominal stomas
- Ulcerative colitis
- Desquamation (sometimes known as flaky skin disease)
- Psoriasis, eczema or varicose ulceration
- Renal failure which required dialysis at home
Though not an exhaustive list, all of these conditions will automatically qualify for WaterSure provided you tick the other boxes. Other medical conditions requiring high water usage may also qualify, although your water supplier will need to check with your doctor.
How do I apply for WaterSure?
To apply for WaterSure, first get in touch with your water company to request an application form for the WaterSure scheme. You should be able to do this online, or via their customer service number.
When you fill out the application form, make sure you have the necessary supporting documents ‒ such as proof of benefits.
You’ll also need your condition evidenced by your doctor. This will include details of how it’s treated, and how much water you use. You may not need a doctor’s certificate, as water companies often accept a GP’s stamp, which there’s a space for on the form.
If you do need a doctor’s certificate, you may need to pay for it. If so, it’s worth asking your water supplier to reimburse the cost.
It’s always worth keeping records of water meter readings and any correspondence with your water company. This can be helpful in case of any disputes or discrepancies.
Also, be sure to inform your water company straight away if your circumstances change, such as adjustments to your benefits, or a change in the size of your family.
Finally, if you’re not sure about your eligibility, or you need help with the application process, you can seek help from organisations such as Citizens Advice. It’s worth noting that you need to confirm you remain eligible or reapply every 12 months, so you can seek help with this too.