Free TV licence application process to change for pensioners

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Pension Credit: Yvonne on living on the breadline

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People aged over 75 on Pension Credit can get a free TV licence and they currently have to obtain paperwork to show the BBC they receive the benefit. Legislation has gone through Parliament to allow the BBC to verify automatically if a person applying for a TV licence is on the benefit.

Receiving a free TV licence saves a person £159 a year. Some 7,000 people apply for a free TV licence each month.

In 2020, the BBC stopped providing free TV licences for all over 75s, but those in receipt of Pension Credit are still eligible.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “The BBC’s disappointing decision to stop providing free TV licences for all over-75s has left low-income pensioners who remain eligible jumping through administrative hoops to avoid paying the charge.

“The changes mean those receiving Pension Credit will get the savings with minimum fuss, ensuring more people get the support they are entitled to as we tackle the cost of living and grow the economy.”

Pension Credit is a benefit that tops up the income of people of state pension age on low incomes.

The Guarantee Credit element tops up a person’s weekly income to £182.60 for single people, or to £287.70 for couples.

The benefit also has a Savings Credit element providing extra help for those who have savings or other pensions for their retirement.

This element provides up to £14.48 a week for single people or £16.20 a week for couples.

People on Pension Credit can also get additional funds through the scheme if they have a severe disability or care for another adult.

For claims involving couples, both partners have to be of state pension to claim the benefit, with the state pension age currently at 66.

Pension Credit acts as a “gateway” benefit that provides access to several other means of support, including cost of living payments for this winter.

People on the benefit can get the Cold Weather Payment, a £25 payment paid to Britons when temperatures drop below, or are forecast to drop below, freezing.

The payments have been triggered several times in hundreds of postcodes in recent weeks, with some people receiving the payment twice.

Cold Weather Payments have been replaced in Scotland with the Winter Heating Payment, a one-off £50 payment regardless of the weather.

Pension Credit claimants were also eligible for a £650 cost of living payment that went out to people on means-tested benefits this year, and claimants will be eligible for a similar £900 payment next year.

Details of when the £900 payment will be made have yet to be announced, with financial journalist Martin Lewis predicting it could be in October or November next year.

Other support available to people who claim Pension Credit includes:

  • Housing Benefit if the claimant rents the property they live in
  • Support for Mortgage Interest if they own the property they live in
  • Council Tax discount
  • Help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments, depending on the person’s claim
  • Help with heating costs through the Warm Home Discount Scheme
  • A discount on the Royal Mail redirection service for those moving houses.

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