BBC licence fee: Expert slams ‘lazy’ reliance on pension credit
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Pension Credit is now being used as the marker by which TV Licensing judge whether a person over 75 can secure a free licence. Following changes in August 2020, many over 75s will now have to pay for their licence when previously they had a free entitlement. However, the impacts on this group due to COVID-19 cannot be denied, and back in February the BBC announced a “transition period” due to the pandemic.
As a result, older Britons were given more time to sort out their arrangements and decide what steps to take going forward.
But today, that transition period comes to an end, meaning there is a moment of reckoning for those impacted.
Older people will now only be able to get a TV Licence for free if they are in receipt of Pension Credit, or a discount in other circumstances, such as if a person has a sight impairment.
If a person does wish to continue with a TV Licence – which must be held by those watching live television on any channel – then they will need to take action on Pension Credit.
Pension Credit: How to apply for entitlement as TV Licence payments arrive for over 75s (Image: Getty)
Pension Credit is a form of extra payment which can help older people with their living costs if they are over state pension age and on a low income.
The payment can also help individuals with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges on their property.
Pension Credit is a separate payment from the state pension, which people may be more familiar with.
Individuals will be able to get Pension Credit even if they have other income, savings or their own home.
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To qualify, people must live in England, Scotland or Wales and have reached state pension age.
Pension Credit tops a person’s weekly income to £177.10 if single, and a joint weekly income to £270.30 if they have a partner.
The top up is known as ‘Guarantee Credit’ and forms the first part of Pension Credit.
However, if a person has savings or a second pension, they could get the ‘Savings Credit’ part.
Pension Credit: What is Pension Credit? (Image: EXPRESS)
A person, though, will only be eligible if both of the following apply:
- They reached state pension age before April 6, 2016
- They saved some money for retirement, for example, through a personal or workplace pension
Individuals will get up to £14.04 per week in Savings Credit a week if they are single.
Those with a partner will be able to get up to £15.71 weekly.
Britons may still get some Savings Credit even if they do not get the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit.
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Aside from a free TV Licence for those over 75, recipients of Pension Credit will also be entitled to other forms of support including help with NHS costs, and Cold Weather Payments.
The BBC has confirmed nine out of 10 over 75 customers have now made arrangements for their TV Licence.
TV Licensing states: “We want to help older people become correctly licensed.
“So we’re writing to those we’ve yet to hear from to let them know we’re here to help and to encourage them to contact our specialist customer service advisers.”