More than half a million UK pensioners are missing out on free TV licences which could save them each up to £157.50 a year, a leading poverty charity has warned.
Analysis of unclaimed Pension Credit by the charity Turn2us shows that more than 589,000 could be eligible for a free TV licence but aren’t claiming their legal entitlement.
The findings show that a number of retired adults are missing out on Pension Credit payments, potentially worth hundreds of pounds each week, as well as the free TV license.
Turn2us highlights how only 61% of people actually claim their entitlement to Pension Credit, meaning that hundreds of thousands of pensioners are currently missing out and will lose their free TV license as a result.
The BBC has introduced a new concessionary TV licence scheme for people aged 75 and over, if they are in receipt of Pension Credit, after the UK government decided to scrap the previous universal scheme.
According to Turn2us, as of March 2019, there were 4.6 million free TV licences in the UK, accounting for 17.6% of all TV licences.
Turn2us has worked out how many pensioners in each local authority are not claiming their Pension Credit – with Birmingham alone having 13,006 households missing out. Glasgow, Liverpool, Cornwall, and Leeds also have high numbers of households who are missing out.
Anna Stevenson, Welfare Benefit Expert, at Turn2us said: “Pension Credit is a lifeline for older people stuck on low incomes in retirement, and now it is the only route to getting a free TV license. So it is more important, now than ever, to claim it.
“The extra income, and so called ‘passport-benefits’ that Pension Credit unlocks, can go a long way to helping many older people keep their head above water and avoid being pulled into poverty.
“We urge everyone of pension age to use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator and find out if you are entitled to Pension Credit then make that claim.”
Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman said: “Currently, 1.5 million older people across Great Britain receive extra financial help through Pension Credit. But there are still a significant number of older people who might be missing out.
“We’re keen to get the message out there that everyone should claim the benefits they’re entitled to and I would encourage anyone who thinks they might be eligible for Pension Credit to check.
“It only takes a few minutes for people to check that they are getting all they’re entitled to. Visit gov.uk/pension-credit or call 0800 99 1234.”