State pension age changes could affect your eligibility for free bus pass
Budget 2021: Experts outline state pension changes
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Residents in England are eligible to receive a free bus pass for travelling across the country once they reach the age of 66, which is the state pension age.
Different rules regarding eligibility for the discounted travel card apply depending on if someone lives in either England, Scotland or Wales.
As a result of the Government’s proposed changes to the state pension, those living in England may see their eligibility for the free bus pass affected.
In England, access to the free bus pass is aligned with the state pension which is slowly going up and up.
Currently, those who want to initiate a claim for a free bus pass can do so when they reach the state pension age of 66.
However, with this threshold set to be raised even further in the years to come, people will have to wait longer to receive this additional “freebie” benefit.
For those in Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales it is possible to apply for the free bus pass from the age of 60.
As per the Government’s current plan, the new state pension will rise to 67 between 2026 and 2028.
Another increase to 68 years old is expected by 2048, however this is subject to potential Governmental changes and predictions regarding life expectancy.
For anyone looking to apply for this discount travel scheme, state pension claimants can apply via the Government’s website.
Through the website, pension claimants will be able to enter their postcode address which will list out the contact details of their local council.
Local councils are able to use their bus pass claiming procedures to deliver free bus passes to qualifying state pension claimants.
It should be noted that local council procedures for free bus passes may differ if a claimant decides to contact their local authority instead.
Stephen Lowe, the Group Communications Director at Just Group, outlined why the additional benefits, such as the bus pass, which come from the state pension are almost just as
Mr Lowe said: “The social and cultural reference to ‘freebie’ benefits means nearly all over 65s know about them but their financial value is dwarfed by other benefits which are less well known.
“The state pension alone will not provide a comfortable standard of living so checking your entitlement for other state benefits should be as much a part of planning for retirement as understanding what your private pension and other savings will provide.”
Anyone who has been impacted by the state pension age change and is unable to get a free bus pass may be able to receive other discount offers on their travel expenses.
On its website, Age UK highlighted what other concessions may be available for those looking for cheaper travel on the bus in their twilight years.
The organisation stated: “It’s also worth contacting the individual coach and train operators to see if they offer discounts for older people.
“For example, National Express offers a Senior Coachcard for people who are 60 and over. It costs £12.50 and offers a third off your travel throughout the year.
“Some local authorities offer concessions that apply to local public transport. Contact your local council for more information about what they offer.”
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