Home » health » Coronavirus

How do I register as a vulnerable customer?

vulnerable shopper

Last updated: 05/05/2020

News: Marks & Spencer has announced a new delivery service with Deliveroo. Scroll down for more details. 

If you've tried to do an online shop recently, you'll know just how hard it is to come by one of those coveted delivery slots. For those who are vulnerable, however, this can be particularly tricky, as online orders can be the only way to get groceries without having to rely on someone else to visit the shop for you. Many supermarkets are tackling the problem by rolling out new measures where extremely vulnerable people will get priority deliveries. Here's what you need to know, including which shops are introducing this and how to check if you qualify. Don't forget to share your experiences of registering as a vulnerable shopper on our forum. 

Sign up to our newsletter for more coronavirus updates... 


Do I qualify as a vulnerable customer?

What's an extremely vulnerable person? 

If you have a pre-existing medical condition that makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, you are able to register with the government to receive support. You can find a list of conditions that are included in this definition, and advice on what you need to do if this applies to you, on the government website here

The NHS have recently sent out letters to those it considers to be clinically extremely vulnerable, telling them to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks, and to not leave the house for this period, including for food shopping, so for those who can not leave the house at all, it's crucial for them to be able to access online delivery slots. 

The government has identified people they believe to be vulnerable and have been sharing the information with supermarkets, so that they can directly contact people who would benefit from online delivery services. 

I haven't received a letter - how do I register? 

If you've not received a letter from the NHS, but think you qualify for this support you can register yourself, or on behalf of someone, on the government website. Please note, that this registering process is unfortunately only available to those who live in England. If you live in England, you can use this website to register. You'll then need to fill in a questionnaire. 

There are similar services are available to people who live in Scotland, and Wales. If you live in Northern Ireland there is a community helpline you can ring that is open seven days a week, where you will find more information about how to get food.  


What supermarkets are offering slots for vulnerable customers?

extremely vulnerable online shopping order 

How do I get a delivery slot for Tesco? 

Tesco says it will prioritise customers who are on the government's list of vulnerable people. If you're on the list, Tesco will contact you by email. To try and get access to a priority slot, you can also phone 0800 917 7359. Tesco is encouraging people to use these slots as little possible, they can to free them up for people who truly have no other way to get food. So even if you are entitled to a slot, if it's possible for you to get someone else to go into the store and do your shopping for you, you should try to do this instead. 

Sainsbury's and vulnerable shoppers 

The supermarket has identified hundreds of thousands of people classed to be vulnerable for priority home delivery slots, and will contact them by email as soon as they can. 

Sainsbury's has recenlty introduced a one-hour delivery service called Chop Chop, which allows customers to order a top-up shop of up to 20 items. There is a £4.99 delivery fee for this service.


Do I qualify for Asda's free delivery slots? 

ASDA has recently increased the number of delivery slots they do from 450,000 a week to 700,000 a week to keep up with demand. They has already contacted over 91,000 vulnerable people with an ASDA linked email address to offer them delivery slots free of charge. If you do meet the criteria and haven't yet had a letter from them there are number of things they suggest you can do.

1) Log on to your account and make sure that your name, address and contact details are the same as those the government has for you. 

2) If you are eligible but don't have an ASDA account and someone in your household does, ask if they can change the details so that they match yours.  


How do I register as a vulnerable customer at Waitrose? 

Waitrose has contacted all customers over 70, and is offering them and other vulnerable people priority slots on its website. The supermarket is currently working with the government to try and find ways to reach out to those on the list of vulnerable people.

In order to stop their systems being overwhelmed, Waitrose is asking people to wait for information, rather than try and contact them to find out. If you have an Ocado smart pass, it's still relatively easy to get delivery - you can find out more here

Vulnerable customers at Morrisons 

Morrisons is offering new delivery slots through its website and its Amazon prime store. The supermarket has also created a call centre for customers who do not shop online, although there are currently no available slots - check back here to see if any have become available.

To make online shopping simpler, Morrisons have also introduced a range of food boxes which can be delivered. 

How do I register at for a delivery slot at Iceland? 

Iceland are only allowing online orders to be made by customers who are over state pension age, self-isolating or otherwise vulnerable, such as those who are disabled.

If you go to the website to make an a order, a pop-up will appear asking if you are over the state pension age, vulnerable or self-isolating. If you say yes, you will be able request a delivery slot.


Marks and Spencers announces new delivery service

The high-end retailer has announced that 130 of its home and food items are now available via Deliveroo. There is a £4.99 delivery charge and they say deliveries will take a mere 30 minutes. See what other gransnetters are saying about M&S's new delivery service here.  

Confused about click and collect - ask a question of our helpful community here... 


I'm not on the list of vulnerable customers, but I can't leave the house - what can I do? 

If you can't leave the house for other reasons, here are a few ways to get food if you need it. 

  • Ask a trusted friend or neighbour to collect your shopping for you. Many streets have set up WhatsApp groups where you can ask for help and get in touch with people who live nearby - find out if there is one for your road. 
  • Contact the Mutual Aid group for your area, and request for someone to do your shopping for you and drop it at your house. 
  • Lots of local greengrocers, corner shops, butchers and other small buisnesses are offering delivery, often for free. If you Google the local greengrocer for your area you should be able to access their phone number - ring them and see if they can drop anything off for you.
  • Your local council website should have information on the help they are providing to people who can't leave the house. You can find your local authority website here
  • Meals on wheels might be provided in your area, although not everyone is eligible. Gov.uk has links to a helpful directory for this on their website. 
  • There are also plenty of commerical meal delivery services which deliver for a fee. 
  • The social network Nextdoor allows you to connect with people in your area - its aim is too create a 'neighbourhood hub'. People have been volunteering to collect food and perscriptions for neighbours, so log on if you're in a bind and need some help. 

How do I get the most out of my shopping? 

  • Watch out for supermarket shopping email scams. Be wary of messages claiming to offer vouchers or exclusive access - always check the email address of the sender, and don't enter personal details unless you can be sure you trust the source of the message. For more information on keeping yourself safe, have a read of our guide to avoiding scams
  • Remember when online shopping to click 'save' so you don't lose the contents of your shopping basket, and to log in and out regularly to ensure your session doesn't expire. 

Keep in touch on Gransnet... 

sign up to gransnet









Images: Shutterstock