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

From June 2020, television licences will no longer be free for 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 June 2020 it will no longer provide free TV licences for people aged over 75.

To continue to get a free licence the BBC says you will need to provide evidence that you are in receipt of Pension Credit. However, 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. 

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 from June 2020 a free TV licence.

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 (£167.25 for single claimants and £255.25 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.

Couples where one person is above pension age and one is below can receive Pension Credit based on the age of the older partner. However, since 14 May 2019, unless you were already receiving Pension Credit, you will have to claim Universal Credit to get this extra income. If you’re not already getting Pension Credit but were eligible you may be able to backdate your claim to 14 May or before but you’ll need to apply by 13 August 2019 to do this.

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 helpline 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 June 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.

Find out more about Pension Credit

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

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2 comments

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Your article was so helpful.
Clear, concise and clarifying.
It really is about time the Government addressed this reluctance it perpetuates in treating its citizens in such a contemptuous manner.
If someone is entitled to a benefit, then it should be given.

In my opinion the loss of the free TV licence for the elderly is nothing less than a tax increase. When one sees the high payments made to BBC some executives and those who take leading roles as programme ‘stars’ they should have monetary reductions to fill the gap. Furthermore I cannot understand why the Government should transfer the responsibility to the BBC, Why should they be singled out what about the commercial stations. Perhaps someone can explain the thinking behind the move?

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