Free TV licence changes to see thousands of pensioners ‘get savings with minimum fuss’

Andrew Neil describes BBC licence fee as a 'Straitjacket'

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Under new Government legislation, over 75s who are on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) support will be able to apply for their free TV Licence more quickly and with less hassle. Currently, claimants need to share information with the BBC to prove they are on Pension Credit. However, the BBC will now be able to confirm automatically whether someone who is applying for a free TV Licence is on the benefit payment from the DWP.

As a result of this change, around 7,000 people who reach out for the freebie benefit per month will only need to apply online or over the phone without providing additional documentation.

In 2020, the BBC stopped giving free TV licences for pensioners over the age of 75 except for those claiming Pension Credit.

Pension Credit is a benefit administered by the DWP which tops up the income of those on the state pension.

The changes to the application process for the free television licence are set to come into effect next year.

Those who are 74 or over who are claiming Pension Credit, or their partner at the same address is receiving the benefit, can apply via TV Licensing.

Anyone who believes they are eligible for a free television licence but does not own one is encouraged to call 0300 790 6117.

When this number is contacted, applicants are directed to one of TV Licensing’s advisors and can request an application form.

The licence fee administrator’s lines are open between 8.30am and 6.30pm, from Monday to Friday.

After application forms have been sent to TV Licensing, the process may take a couple of weeks to be completed.

If any problems arise, applicants will be contacted by TV Licensing either over the phone or by post.

Residents of the Isle of Man, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey have separate arrangements in place for the free television licence once they turn 75.

People who do not claim Pension Credit but believe they are eligible to receive the DWP benefit can get more information at

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It is also possible to use the Government’s online Pension Credit calculator to find out how much someone can get from the DWP and what other support they are entitled to.

Applicants can put forward a claim for Pension Credit online or by calling 0800 99 1234.

Nadine Dorries, the Government’s Digital Secretary, shared how Pension Credit claimants will benefit from the most recent changes.

Ms Dorries explained: “The BBC’s disappointing decision to stop providing free TV licences for all over-75s has left low-income pensioners who remain eligible jumping through administrative hoops to avoid paying the charge.

“The changes mean those receiving Pension Credit will get the savings with minimum fuss, ensuring more people get the support they are entitled to as we tackle the cost of living and grow the economy.”

Guy Opperman, the Minister for Pensions, encouraged eligible pensioners to apply for the support being offered to them.

Mr Opperman said: “We want everyone to claim the benefits to which they are entitled, including Pension Credit which acts as a gateway for other benefits such as the free TV licence.

“This change will help reduce the administrative burden on over-75s and put their minds at ease.”

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