Thousands of households missing out on free TV Licence – how to save £159 a year
THOUSANDS of households are missing out on a free TV licence every year worth £159.
Anyone who wants to watch live TV including BBC One, ITV2 and Sky News needs a licence otherwise they will be breaking the law.
The charge for the licence has been frozen at £159 until 2024, thanks to the government. After this point it is expected to rise to £172.
But there are some scenarios where you can get one for free, including if you’re on certain benefits.
Households on Pension Credit who are 75 or older are exempt from paying the fee. You can apply for the discount on tvlicensing.co.uk.
But there are thousands that don’t claim the benefit when they can.
In December, Age UK estimated around 770,000 pensioner households were missing out.
The benefit is designed to help pay for daily living costs like council tax, housing costs and heating bills.
The average award is worth over £3,500 a year so it’s well worth checking out if you can claim it.
It can unlock other benefits too, such as help with NHS treatment.
What is Pension Credit and who is eligible?
You can get different amounts of Pension Credit depending on your circumstances.
There are two parts to it, and pensioners can be eligible for one or both parts:
- Guarantee credit – tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. This is £182.60 a week if you’re single and £278.70 a week for married couples.
- Savings credit – provides extra money if you’ve saved money towards retirement. You can get an extra £14.48 a week for a single person or £16.20 a week for a married couple.
You can also get additional pension credit if you are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have to pay for certain housing costs such as mortgage interest payments.
For instance, you can get either £56.35 a week or £66.85 per week for each child or young person you’re responsible for.
If you have a severe disability you could get an extra £69.40 a week or if you care for another adult you could get an extra £38.85 a week.
To be eligible, you must live in England, Scotland or Wales and have reached state pension age.
But you must also have a low enough income that it needs topping up with Pension Credit.
Your income is calculated based on your state pension allowance, other pensions, your employment and self-employment earnings and some social security benefits, including Carer’s Allowance.
But not all benefits are counted as income, including:
- Adult Disability Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Christmas Bonus
- Child Benefit
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- social fund payments like Winter Fuel Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction
How do I apply?
You can apply for Pension Credit up to four months before reaching state pension age.
Crucially, you can apply any time after you reach state pension age, but your application can only be backdated by three months.
This means you can get up to three months worth of the benefit in your first payment if you were eligible during that period.
But anything beyond that and you won’t get more than three months’ backdated payments.
You’ll need some personal information to hand when you apply, including your National Insurance number, and details about your income, savings and investments.
When it comes to actually applying, you can do this online on the government’s website.
You can also apply by phone on 0800 991 234 or post. The address to send your claim form to is:
The Pension Service 8
Post Handling Site B