State pension warning: Over 60s could miss out on free bus pass due to age change

Pensioner calls for his state pension to be 'unfrozen'

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As it stands, residents in England are eligible for the free bus pass once they hit the state pension age, which is 66. However, under current Government proposals, the state pension age is set to go up in the coming years. As a result, Britons in the over 60s age demographic will have to wait even longer for a “freebie” benefit they would otherwise have been entitled to.

It should be noted that the age eligibility threshold for accessing the free bus pass is dependent on what country you live in within the UK.

Those living in Scotland or Wales are able to access the travel concession once they reach 60 years of age.

Furthemore, a new bus pass scheme has been introduced in Scotland which has seen under 22s being able to claim the discount.

If the Government’s proposals remain in place, the state pension will rise from 66 to 67 in between 2026 and 2028.

READ MORE: Council tax reductions explained: Who is eligible to pay less and how to claim

Following this, another increase to the retirement age threshold is expected by 2048 at the latest.

Despite this forecast, the state pension age change is subject to shifts in the wider economy and predictions regarding life expectancy.

Those looking to apply for the free bus pass, if they are of the state pension age or higher, can do so via the Government’s website.

Upon entering the website, applicants will be able to enter their postcode address which will then provide them with contact details for their local council.

Through their independent procedures, local councils are able to administer and deliver the free bus pass to eligible applicants.

While many will be similar, local council procedures may be different if an applicant decides to contact their local authority directly.

For older people who are concerned about having to wait longer for their free bus pass, Age UK provides alternative discounts which are available for travelling around the country.

On its website, the charity 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.”

In light of the current cost of living crisis, financial experts have praised the various additional benefits awarded to state pension claimants.

Stephen Lowe, the group communications director at Just Group, emphasised why schemes such as the free bus pass are vital to state pensioners.

“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,” Mr Lowe explained.

“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.”

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