Television licences are no longer free for all people over 75. However, if you are claiming Pension Credit and 75 or over, you will qualify for a free TV licence. Here we advise on how to find out if you are eligible for Pension Credit and how to apply
Who is eligible for a free TV licence?
The free TV licence is means-tested and available to people who receive Pension Credit.
To apply you will need to;
- be over 75 years-old (you can apply from aged 74) and
- provide evidence that you are in receipt of Pension credit. This can be either Guarantee Credit, Savings Credit, or both (see below for more detail on types of Pension Credit.)
Many people who are eligible for Pension Credit don’t currently claim it. According to the Department of Work and Pensions around a third of those entitled to Pension Credit do not receive it.
It is estimated £1.7 billion of Pension Credit is left unclaimed in England and Wales alone.
What is Pension Credit?
Pension Credit is a benefit for people who are on a low income and have reached state retirement age.
The aim is to make sure everyone of qualifying age has a certain amount of income every week.
Pension Credit has two parts, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit:
- Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a set amount, known as the ‘Standard minimum guarantee’. The 2023/2024 set amounts are £201.05 per week for single claimants and £306.85 for couples. You may be eligible for more if you are eligible for 'premiums', see below.
- Savings Credit provides extra money for people over state pension age who have extra savings or investments. New claims are being phased out. Unless someone reached state pension age by 6th April 2016, they cannot make a new claim for the Savings Credit. People who already receive it will continue to do so.
Disability benefits such as Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance are not included as ‘income’ for this purpose.
The ‘Standard Minimum Guarantee’ is the minimum amount of money that the Government says you need to live on if you’re over state pension age. However, it can vary according to your circumstances. Additional amounts or ‘premiums’ can be added to this figure. Some examples of these additional amounts are:
- £76.40 per week if you have a severe disability
- £42.75 if you are a carer
Once any premiums are added, this figure becomes known as your ‘appropriate minimum guarantee’. Your actual income will be compared with this figure, and Pension Credit may be paid to cover any shortfall between the amounts.
If you have savings over £10,000 this may reduce the amount you receive.
The free TV licence for people over 75 applies to people in receipt of either part of Pension Credit - Guarantee Credit or Savings Credit (or both).
Who can get Pension Credit?
Pension Credit is available for people over the state pension age, who live in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is a good idea to have a benefits check to make sure you are getting everything you are entitled to.
If you are going to become eligible for Pension Credit in the future (e.g. coming up to state pension age or about to have a drop in income) a claim can be made up to four months in advance of this change. Pension Credit can also be backdated for up to three months if the qualifying conditions are met.
Pension Credit cannot be claimed if one member of a couple has reached pension age, but their partner has not.
If you are a mixed age couple who didn’t claim Pension Credit before 15 May 2019, you will have to be assessed for Universal Credit to get this extra income, which doesn’t qualify you for a free TV licence.
How can I find out how much I am entitled to?
You can visit the Government Pension Credit calculator to find out how much you are entitled to and whether you are eligible.
Further help you are entitled to with Pension Credit
People awarded Pension Credit guarantee credit even at a low rate could also get help with other things, such as:
- full housing benefit and council tax support
- low-income cost of living payments
- entitlement to claim Funeral Payments and have access to budgeting loans
- automatically qualifying for Cold Weather Payment
- discounts on their electricity bill via the Warm Home Discount scheme
- exemption from health care charges including free NHS dental treatment, help towards the cost of glasses and travel to hospital.
How to apply for Pension Credit
What you’ll need
- your date of birth
- your National Insurance number – found on payslips, tax papers and letters from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
- how much money you have coming in each week – for example, this could be details of any pension you get from a former employer or a personal pension plan, and how often it’s paid
- details of any savings and investments – The Pension Service will ask for the current balance in any bank and savings accounts and details of any investments, such as shares, premium bonds or unit trust certificates
- information on housing costs, such as mortgage interest, service charges or ground rent.
If you have a partner that you live with, you will need to have the same information about them.
How to make a claim
- If you live in England and Wales, call the Pension Credit claim line on freephone 0800 99 1234 (text 0800 169 0133) Monday to Friday 8am-6pm.
- If you live in Northern Ireland, call the Pension Credit Application line on 0808 100 6165.
Alzheimer’s Society always recommends people with dementia and carers have a full benefits check. You can visit your nearest Citizens Advice. Or get in touch with your local Age UK to get support with claiming benefits.
How to apply for your free TV licence
Visit the TV Licensing website to apply for your free TV licence. You will need:
- your date of birth
- your National Insurance number
- proof that you are receiving Pension Credit.
Your free TV licence will not start automatically when you are awarded Pension Credit. You will need to apply for it.
Need more help?
See the FAQs on TV Licensing's website for more answers to common questions about the free TV licence for over 75s.
TV Licensing have a free telephone information line for older customers and their relatives. To access recorded information providing advice to customers, call 0800 232 1382.
Find out more about Pension Credit
Learn more about Pension Credit and how to claim at Gov.uk