State pension UK: Free bus pass qualifying ages will be changing – rules explained

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State pension aged people will be able to claim a free bus pass from certain ages in the UK but the rules differ between regions. For those in Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales it will be possible to apply for an older person’s bus pass from the age of 60.

However, those based in England will only be able to get the free pass from when they reach the female state pension age, whether they’re a man or a woman.

As it stands, most people will reach their state pension age when they hit 66 but this is set to change in the coming years.

The state pension age, for both men and women, will reach 67 between 2026 and 2028 under the Government’s current schedule.

Beyond this, it will rise to 68 by 2046.

To start the application process, claimants will need to head to the Government’s website.

On the website there is a tool where users enter their postcode.

They will then be presented with the contact details for their local council.

Local councils can then be contacted for their bus pass claiming procedures, which may differ between local authorities.

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State pensions themselves require at least 10 years of National Insurance contributions.

To receive the full amount of £179.60 per week, at least 35 years will be needed.

Claims for state pensions can be made online and the Government details this is the fastest method.

However, payments can also be claimed over the phone or through the post.

State pensions can be claimed up to four months in advance of reaching the state pension age.

This should be noted carefully as state pensions are not paid out automatically, they will need to be claimed.

The Government will send out letters to eligible recipients no later than two months before they reach state pension age, telling them what to do.

State pensions can be claimed even if a person keeps working, potentially boosting income during a person’s later years.

Initial state pension payments should arrive within five weeks of reaching state pension age, so long as they’ve been claimed.

Beyond this, payments will come through every four weeks.

The actual payment day a person will receive their income will depend on their National Insurance number.

The final two digits of the number will determine what day of the week the money will come through, as detailed below:

  • Monday – 00 to 19
  • Tuesday – 20 to 39
  • Wednesday – 40 to 59
  • Thursday – 60 to 79
  • Friday – 80 to 99

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