The BBC is to go ahead with the plan to end free TV licences for most people over the age of 75 in August, it has been announced. From August 1, more than three million households will need to pay the £157.50 annual fee in order to be covered.
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It follows a two-month delay due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, having originally been due to take effect on June 1.
However, some people who are over the age of 75 may be able to still qualify for a free TV licence.
This is because those who receive Pension Credit will be exempt from the new rules.
Pension Credit is an income-related benefit which some people who have reached state pension age may be able to claim.
It’s made up of two parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
The former tops up weekly income if this is below £173.75 for single people or £265.20 for couples.
It’s something which a person may still be eligible for even if they have a pension, their own home, or savings.
Meanwhile, Savings Credit is an extra payment for people who saved some money towards their retirement – such as a pension.
Those who reached state pension age on or after April 6, 2016 may not be eligible for this extra payment.
It’s possible to use a Pension Credit calculator in order to work out how much a person may get by claiming this payment.
It may also be that by getting Pension Credit, the recipient unlocks other forms of financial support.
It’s possible to claim online via the “Apply for Pension Credit” tool on the GOV.UK website.
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Alternatively, people can claim via phone or post.
According to the latest government figures, almost 1.6 million people claim Pension Credit.
Of those, 450,000 have already applied for a free TV licence.
Commenting on the new TV licence rules, Simon Stanney, equity release director at over 50s experts SunLife said: “With people living longer, pensions and other savings have to last a lot longer than they used to, making things tough for some older people.
“Our Finances After 50 report reveals 24 percent of over 70s are worried about their financial future and 28 percent do not think they have enough money in their pension to cover their retirement.
“It also shows that 10 percent don’t have any savings to fall back on.
“This suggests that many pensioners are already living on quite tight budgets, so any changes to their day to day living expenses – such as now having to pay for a TV licence – could have a huge impact on their finances.
“For many over 70s, watching TV is their main entertainment (and company for the 32 percent that live alone) and has become even more important during lockdown for some, so poorer households may have to make some tough budgeting decisions in order to keep it.”
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