State pension age increases set to impact free bus pass eligibility – are you affected?

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Budget 2021: Experts outline state pension changes

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The state pension age currently sits at 66, following changes to the traditional age of 65 for men and 60 for women in equalisation and then uprating. As a result, many people will have to wait longer for retirement, a decision often supported by the safety net of the state pension. The age of 66 is not the end of changes due to be brought in by the Government, and under the current timetable, increases are just on the horizon.

From 2028, the retirement age is to start increasing to 67, and increases to 68 are also set to occur eventually. 

However, it is not just the state pension sum that the age increases will impact.

Instead, people could also see an entitlement to the free bus pass affected, having a significant effect on travel costs.

A free bus pass can be important to many older people who use the entitlement to get out and about.

Whether this is for doctor’s appointments, visiting family or undertaking the weekly shop, it will be a vital source of help for many.

The free bus pass age differs in various regions and parts of the UK.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, individuals will usually be able to secure the retirement perk once they reach the age of 60.

This is due to devolved Governments having control over travel arrangements for those living in their regions.

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However, there is a difference for most individuals who live in England.

The Government states: “In England, you can get a bus pass for free travel when you reach the state pension age.”

As the free bus pass age hinges on the state pension age, there are changes set to occur.

This will mean that individuals living in most parts of England will have to wait longer to be entitled to the free bus pass.

There are exceptions to the rule, such as in London, where entitlements for residents in the capital differ.

Here, people will be eligible for free travel on buses, tubes, the DLR and other forms of transport when they reach the age of 60.

However, this will only be for travel which occurs within London itself, and thus is somewhat restrictive.

Many people will be keen to check when they will be entitled to a free bus pass to assist them with costs.

What is happening where you live? Find out by adding your postcode or visit InYourArea

Thankfully, the Government has developed an online tool via its website to assist with this matter.

People will be able to enter their postcode into the checker tool to find out:

  • How to apply for a bus pass from their local council
  • How to check if a person can get a bus pass sooner

Entering one’s postcode means individuals will be redirected to the website of their local authority where they can find out about the rules for their area. 

If someone is unsure about their postcode, they can also enter their address with Royal Mail’s postcode finder online.

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