Free bus pass: When you are set to get free travel amid state pension age changes
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Free bus pass entitlements are highly valued by many older people as a good way to cut costs in retirement. It will often be the case older Britons need to get out and about, whether going to the shops or attending doctor’s appointments. But bus travel usually comes with associated costs which can quickly rack up, especially if a person is using the service every day.
Even for those individuals with a car, it is good to have the peace of mind of free travel on this form of public transport should it be needed.
However, with State Pension age changes occurring across the UK, many may be concerned about what this could mean for a free bus pass.
Individuals are generally encouraged to check their eligibility to see when they will be able to unlock the entitlement.
And as the rules differ in varying parts of the UK, it will be important to keep track.
In England, it is stated people are able to collect a free bus pass when reaching the female state pension age.
This is the case whether a person is a man or a woman.
However, this may create some level of confusion, given that the female and male state pension ages have changed, meaning they are now equal.
In November 2018, the state pension age was changed to 65 for both men and women, but was gradually uprated to 66.
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Anyone born from October 6, 1954 to April 5, 1960 will now hit state pension age upon their 66th birthday.
This also means this will be the time they are able to collect their free bus pass.
But this is not the end of changes which are set to take place when it comes to the state pension age, and as a result, people living in England should brace for free bus pass eligibility to potentially change in the future.
In the coming years, it is expected the state pension age will increase again to 67, and then to 68.
This, the Government has said, is a result of increasing life expectancy, meaning people spend more of their adult lives in retirement than ever before.
If the free bus pass age is tied to the female state pension age, then it is likely people will have to wait longer than before to unlock their entitlement.
However, it is worth noting these rules are only applicable for those who are resident in England.
Elsewhere in the country, other rules apply which will be worth making note of if they are applicable.
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, most people will be able to get a free bus pass upon reaching the age of 60.
Some have suggested this is unfair, but the difference is due to the decision being made by devolved governments.
The only exception to the female state pension age rule in England occurs in the capital – London.
Here, individuals will be able to get what is known as a Freedom Pass to help with their travel.
This means people aged 60 and over can travel for free on buses, tubes, trains and other forms of public transport.
However, this only applies to travel within London and is therefore somewhat limited.
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