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How to claim Pension Credit and qualify for a free TV licence

From August 2020, television licences will no longer be free for all people over 75. However, if you are claiming Pension Credit 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.

The BBC recently announced that from 01 August 2020, it will no longer provide free TV licences for all people aged over 75.

Who is eligible for a free TV licence?

The free TV licence for over 75s is now means-tested and will be available to people who receive Pension Credit.

To apply or continue to get a free licence, you will need to;

  • be over 75 years-old (you can apply from aged 74)
  • 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 do not currently claim it. According to the Department of Work and Pensions up to 1.3 million pensioners are failing to claim Pension Credit, and 2 in 5 of those entitled to Pension Credit do not receive it. 

Discounts on TV licences are also available for people who are blind or live in sheltered housing/a care home

With this in mind, it is important to find out whether you are eligible to claim. Even if you can only claim a small amount it is worth claiming Pension Credit as it can enable you to qualify for other benefits, including a free TV licence from August 2020.

What is Pension Credit?

Pension Credit, also known as State Pension Credit, is a benefit for people who are on a low income and have reached the state retirement age

Pension Credit has two parts, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit:

  • Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level (£173.75 for single claimants and £265.20 for couples per week), plus 'premiums' - see below for more.
  • Savings Credit is extra money for people aged 65 and over who have extra savings or investments. No new claims for Savings Credit have been taken since April 2016, but people who already receive it will continue to do so. 

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). 

Pension Credit aims to make sure everyone of qualifying age has a certain amount of income every week.

It’s important to note that things like Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance are not included as ‘income’ for this purpose.

The Minimum Guarantee is the minimum amount of money that the Government has said you need to live on if you are over state pension age. However, it can vary according to your circumstances. Additional amounts or ‘premiums’ can be added to this figure for example if you have a severe disability or caring responsibilities.

Who can get Pension Credit?

Pension Credit is available for people over the state pension age, who live in England, Scotland or Wales. 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.

Before 15 May 2019, Pension Credit could be paid if you had reached pension age but your partner had not. Those mixed age couples will continue to receive Pension Credit and a free TV licence may be granted if one of you is over 75.

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.

Our dementia advisers are here for you.

Further help you are entitled to with Pension Credit

People awarded Pension Credit even at a low rate could also get help with other things, such as:

  • help with housing costs and council tax.
  • entitlement to claim Funeral Payments and have access to budgeting loans/advance payments.
  • automatically qualifying for Cold Weather Payment as well electricity bill discounts from their supplier 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.
  • from August 2020 a free TV licence for people over 75.

How to apply for Pension Credit

What you’ll need

  • Your national insurance number.
  • Information about income, savings, pensions and investments.
  • The details for the account you want the money to be paid into.

How to get in touch

  • Call the Pension Credit claim line on freephone 0800 99 1234 (text 0800 169 0133) Monday to Friday 8am-6pm.
  • Visit your local Pension Service office - they may be able to arrange a home visit if you need one.
  • Find your pension centre to make enquiries about State Pension or Pension Credit

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 expert support with claiming benefits.

How to apply for your free TV licence

After you've started receiving Pension credit, you will be eligible for a free TV licence if you are also 75 or over. This will not happen automatically, so you will need to apply for it. 

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

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 has also launched a free telephone information line for older customers and their relatives. To access recorded information on the new policy and advice to customers, call 0800 232 1382.

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This page was originally published in June 2019. It was last updated on 13 July 2020.

Find out more about Pension Credit

Learn more about Pension Credit and how to claim at Gov.uk

Find out more
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49 comments

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I am on attendance allowance, do I qualify for free tv licence?

This is helpful
2

Hi Mrs Miller,

Only Pension Credit is taken into account to qualify for the free TV license.

If you're not sure whether you're eligible for Pension Credit, it's a good idea to get a benefits check. You can find out more details about this from Citizen's Advice: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/benefits-introduction/what-b…

Hope this helps,

Alzheimer's Society blog team

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0

My husband is 84 we get housing benefits Would we be entitled to few tv licence

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0

Hi Flora, thanks for your comment.

You will need to be claiming Pension Credit to claim for a free TV license. Do you know if you are eligible for this? You may well be if you are already receiving housing benefits.

You can use this tool to find out if you are eligible to receive Pension Credit: https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator

If you find out you are eligible for Pension Credit, then you should apply for it. Then you will be able to apply for a free TV license once you've started receiving Pension Credit and can supply evidence of this.

I hope this helps, Flora.

Alzheimer's Society blog team

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0

I am age of 67 and receiving pension credit could I eligible for free tv license.

This is helpful
5

Hi Nazmul, thanks for your comment.

The free TV license is only available for over 75s, although people can apply from aged 74. There are some other discounts available, for example if people are partially sighted or in sheltered housing/a care home. It can be a good idea to get a benefits check, particularly if you are finding it difficult to pay: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/benefits-introduction/what-b…

We are currently working on getting this blog updated as some of the information is now old. For the latest information, please visit the TV Licensing website: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/for-your-home/aged-…

Hope this is helpful,
Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
1

I am 70 years old and receiving pension credit do I qualify for a free TV LICENSE

This is helpful
3

Hi Des, thanks for your comment.

The free TV license is only available for over 75s, although people can apply from aged 74. There are some other discounts available, for example if people are partially sighted or in sheltered housing/a care home. It can be a good idea to get a benefits check, particularly if you are finding it difficult to pay: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/benefits-introduction/what-b…

We are currently working on getting this blog updated as some of the information is now old. For the latest information, please visit the TV Licensing website: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/for-your-home/aged-…

Hope this is helpful,
Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
0

Please answer nazmul question. Its not clear your reply.Shes 67 years old same age as my mum and on pension credit. Can she get free tv licence even though shes under 75 years of age but shes on pension credit and still currently receiving?

This is helpful
0

Hi Yeun Ken,

You must be 75 or over to receive a free TV license. Somebody who is 67 will not be eligible, even if they are receiving Pension Credit.

It may be worth getting a benefits check to make sure you're claiming for all that you're entitled to: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/benefits-introduction/what-b…

Hope this helps,

Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
0

My husband has Alzheimer's and is on pension credit and he is 70 years old, will he be able to get a free tv license??

This is helpful
0

Hi Christine, thanks for your comment.

The free TV license is only available for over 75s, although people can apply from aged 74. There are some other discounts available, for example if people are partially sighted or in sheltered housing/a care home. It can be a good idea to get a benefits check, particularly if you are finding it difficult to pay: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/benefits-introduction/what-b…

We are currently working on getting this blog updated as some of the information is now old. For the latest information, please visit the TV Licensing website: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/for-your-home/aged-…

Hope this is helpful,
Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
0

my husband and i already receive pension credit so do we have to apply for free tv licence or is this automatic

This is helpful
4

Hi Margaret,
The free TV license is only available for over 75s, although people can apply from aged 74.
We will look at getting this blog updated as some of the information is now old. For the latest information, please visit the TV Licensing website: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/for-your-home/aged-…
Hope this is helpful,
Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
0

My wife and I are on pension credits And we are paying monthly for a TV license do we need one

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0

Can I get a free tv licence if I am over 75 on saving pension credits. I was notified in January when I reach 75 that I would get one free but not sure now they have changed if saving people sion credits are included.

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0

Im 70 and have been paying my tv licence a log time and ive been on pesion credit for about 8 years .should i be excempt

This is helpful
1

I'm 66 and on pensioner credit and live on my own. Do i qualify for the free TV license?

This is helpful
0

Hi Philecia,
The free TV license is only available for over 75s, although people can apply from aged 74.
We will look at getting this blog updated as the information is old. For the latest information, please visit the TV Licensing website: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/for-your-home/aged-…
Hope this is helpful,
Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
0

I am 66 and on pension credits, am I entitled to a free licence, I have only found this out with coming on here.

This is helpful
2

I am 69 on pension credit can I get free bbc tv

This is helpful
0

Hi Barbara,
The free TV license is only available for over 75s, although people can apply from aged 74.
We will look at getting this blog updated as the information is old. For the latest information, please visit the TV Licensing website: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/for-your-home/aged-…
Hope this is helpful,
Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
0

Good Morning. I wonder if someone could clear something up for me. My grandparents are 84 and are entitled to pension credit savings. I have read that this is part of pension credit but does it mean they are 100% entitled to the free TV licence. Also I read in here that even on the lower rate of pension credit they could get help towards other things. Is there somewhere that we explain what help they can get? Thank you for your help.

This is helpful
16

I have not received my letter yet to confirm that I am on pensions credit.

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17

I look after my Mothers paperwork and bills, and have power of attorney.
She is over 75 and receives pension credit.
I know this entitles her to the free license but I have no hard copy documents which show her receipt of benefits.
TV licensing require a hard copy posted. Any tips on who to contact and ask for some form of paper proof ?
Thanks

This is helpful
20

How do I get proof of pension credit to you, my mother in law is in receipt of this benefit so is entitled to her free tv licence

This is helpful
0

Best thing todo is contact the DWP ask for entitlement letter to be sent

This is helpful
0

I am 74 years old on pension credit savings ,will I be able to claim free tv licence

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18

Will get free TV licence over 75 l got pension credit thank you

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6

My husband gets pension savings, he is 77 will we be able to still have free TV licence

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12

Hi, my mum is 81 and in receipt of savings credit, is she entitled to a free tv licence? Because everywhere we look there seems to be conflicting information. Thanks

This is helpful
15

Hi there, my Mum has Alzheimer's and the Tele is her only comfort and helps her Anxiety. She doesn't read or do her word searches anymore.
Would she be able to still get a Free Licence? Its making her very aggitated at the moment as its playing on her mind!
Mum doesn't get pension credits as she worked all her life and paid into a private pension, so she got penalised for saving into that!
My Mum is 87

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18

We are Both. 80 , not on pension credit George has Parkinson’s depression and anxiety we get 25 percent off council tax and 70£0ff rent a week Do we have a privet pension I have heart trouble Copd ore only enjoyment is tv do we have to pay full Tv. liesence

This is helpful
10

Mum gets pension credit and at 91 receives a free licence does she have to prove she has pension credit now or will the free licence still come through the post? and if she does have to how does she do that?

This is helpful
18

Hi Susan, thanks for getting in touch.

The TV Licensing company has advised that over 75s will not need to take immediate action, and they will be writing to people directly to advise if anything needs to be done. There are some more details here: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/cs/media-centre/news/view.app?id=13697868…

Hope this is helpful,

Alzheimer's Society blog team

This is helpful
17
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