Pensioners could claim a free TV licence – are you eligible?
Martin Lewis provides clarification on pension credit payments
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With household bills continuing to rise, older Britons could make a significant saving by taking advantage of a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefit. In the UK, a household requires a TV licence if they wish to watch or record programmes on a TV as and when they are broadcast. This includes all stations including the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV and many more.
People also require a TV licence if they watch or steam programmes live via an online TV service on any device including tablets, gaming consoles, laptops and mobile phones.
Britons who claim Pension Credit and are over the age of 75 are eligible to claim a free TV Licence.
Pension Credit is a benefit for people over the state pension age and tops up a person’s income if they are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
According to the TV Licensing website, which is the organisation that manages the TV Licence, people can apply for a free TV Licence if they are 75 years or older, and if someone or their partner living at the same address, receives Pension Credit.
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People will need to apply for a free licence as they are not given out automatically.
Older Britons can apply for the free licence through the TV Licensing website when they log into their account.
If people cannot apply online, they can call TV Licensing on 0300 790 6117 and can speak to one of their advisors to request an application form.
These lines are open between 8.30 am and 6.30 pm, from Monday to Friday.
TV Licensing stated that it would take a “few weeks” to process once it has received an application.
If there are any problems with the application form, the organisation will write to let someone know.
They may also call if someone has provided TV Licensing with their phone number.
Earlier this year, the Government introduced a new procedure was introduced which would make it easier for older Britons to make an application.
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Before the change, pensioners needed to provide the BBC with documentation supporting their claim.
However, now the BBC are able to verify automatically whether the person applying for a free TV Licence is on Pension Credit with the DWP.
The Government stated that the move would help over 7,000 people each month who apply for a free TV Licence.
Pension Credit gives someone extra money to help with their living costs if they are over the state pension age and on a low income. It is also separate from the state pension.
People can get Pension Credit even if they have other income, a pension, savings or own their own home.
According to the DWP, over 800,000 people are not claiming the benefit even though they are entitled to it.
Alongside the extra cash each month, which could be between £182.60 and £278.70, people claiming Pension Credit could also receive housing benefit, mortgage support, help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments, and help with heating costs.
A Statista survey conducted earlier this year found that 93 percent of those aged 56 and above in the UK watched “linear” TV each week.
This means they watch programmes at their scheduled time rather than via on-demand and catch-up services, which makes TV licences particularly important for older generations.
However, the annual £159 fee could be a burden for less well-off pensioners.
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