Thousands of pensioners will be able to more easily claim a free TV licence under a new shake-up confirmed by the Government.
Free TV licences for over-75s were axed in 2020, except for those who claim Pension Credit .
Under the current rules, everyone who is entitled to a free TV licence must send documentation to the BBC to prove they are in receipt of Pension Credit.
But as part of a revamp of the system, the BBC will soon be able to verify this information with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
It will mean, in most cases, households will only need to apply online or over the phone without any need to supply additional paperwork.
A statutory instrument has been laid in Parliament today to amend the Television Licences Act 2000.
The changes to the application process are expected to come into effect next year.
A full colour TV licence currently costs £159.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: "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.
Minister for Pensions Guy 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."
What is Pension Credit?
Latest figures from the Government suggest 850,000 people are missing out on claiming Pension Credit .
Pension Credit is a benefit that tops up the income of retirees so they have a decent standard of living.
The average annual income boost through Pension Credit is roughly £3,300 a year, according to Government figures.
Pension Credit comes in two parts and you may be eligible for one or both elements, depending on your circumstances.
The Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit tops up your weekly income to:
- £182.60 if you're single
- £278.70 if you have a partner
If you reached State Pension age before April 6, 2016, you may be eligible for the Savings Credit element of Pension Credit.
You could get up to:
- £14.48 if you’re single
- £16.20 if you’re a couple
You may get extra money if you have other responsibilities and costs, such as if you have high rent, if you have a disability or you care for someone.
For example, you could get an extra £69.40 a week if you claim certain disability benefits or an extra £38.85 a week if you receive Carer’s Allowance.
If you're responsible for children or young people, you could get an extra £56.35 a week for each person in your care.
This is increased to £66.85 a week for the first child if they were born before April 6, 2017.
If the child or young person is disabled, you could also get an extra amount of £30.58 to £95.48 a week if they get certain benefits.
You can view all the additional top-ups and their rates on the Gov.uk website.
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