Over 75s need not take immediate action, says TV Licensing
Date published: 11 June 2019
TV Licensing customers over 75 will remain covered by a free TV licence until 31 May 2020
Following the BBC’s policy announcement on the future of the over 75s TV Licence fee, TV Licensing is advising customers currently receiving a free licence that they need not take any immediate action and that they will be supported through the changes when the current arrangement for free over 75 licences paid for by the UK Government comes to an end next year.
TV Licensing customers over 75 will remain covered by a free TV licence until 31 May 2020.
Further to a public consultation, the BBC has announced that from June next year the BBC will fund a free licence for over 75s in receipt of Pension Credit.
Over the course of the next month TV Licensing will be writing directly to everyone who currently has a free over 75 licence to let them know about the new scheme and make clear that they will remain fully covered by their free licence until 31 May 2020. TV Licensing will get in touch with affected customers well ahead of the change next summer to explain what to do next, letting people know how those still eligible for a free licence can apply and what payment options will be available for those who will need to buy a licence in the future.
Over 1.5 million households with residents aged over 75 could receive free TV Licences funded by the BBC if they receive Pension Credit. TV Licensing will operate a self-verification system where individuals simply need to demonstrate their receipt of Pension Credit in order to qualify.
Recognising that the decision will affect customers who may need extra support, from next year, TV Licensing will be providing face to face assistance for older people through an outreach programme delivered by specially trained customer care field staff. The size of the TV Licensing customer support call centre will also be increased.
TV Licensing will be launching a free telephone information line this month where older customers and their relatives can access recorded information on the new policy and advice to customers by calling 0800 232 1382.
Furthermore, TV Licensing will be developing a new “Pay as you Go” payment scheme especially for customers who will need to pay for their licence from June 2020. This scheme will let customers spread the cost of their licence in fortnightly or monthly payments to make it easier to pay.
In 2017/18 TV Licensing worked with over 480 money advice and community organisations across the country to help support those who struggle to pay the licence fee. TV Licensing provides support including a money advisors helpline, regular briefings and accessible literature that can be provided to customers finding it difficult to stay correctly licensed. In addition, the money advice and community organisations provide feedback and guidance in the design of services and communications to customers.
Information and frequently asked questions can be found on the TV Licensing website:
Liz McInnes MP says: “The news that over-75’s are to lose their free TV licence is a cruel blow to millions of vulnerable, disabled and lonely pensioners who will be potentially stripped of a lifeline and contact with the outside world.
"The BBC have been forced into this decision by the Government, who are breaking their 2017 manifesto promise to protect the free licences.
"It is no comfort that the BBC are proposing to offer free licences to those in receipt of Pension Credit, which is a benefit that isn’t claimed by many of those who could do so. As I’ve previously reported, as many as 1,211 households in Heywood and Middleton with residents aged 75 and over may not be claiming Pension Credit to which they are entitled, meaning they would also miss out on the free TV licence.
"In any case, means testing for TV licences is simply wrong. You can’t means test social isolation or loneliness, which far too many older people suffer and for which television provides comfort.
"Labour will fight these plans and we remain committed to free TV licences for those aged 75 and over.”
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