A LITTLE-KNOWN TV licence rule means that over one million households could save £170 a year.

It means a whopping £249million worth free TV licences are lefty uop for grabs and remain unclaimed, according Policy in Practice.

We've explained exactly who's missing out


We’ve explained exactly who’s missing outCredit: Alamy

Anyone who wants to watch live TV, including the BBC, ITV and Sky, must pay for a TV licence.

A colour TV licence currently costs £169.50 a year, while a licence to watch a black-and-white TV costs £57.

However, there are some scenarios where you can get a free licence, including if you’re on certain benefits.

For example, fee TV licences are available to pension credit claimants over the age of 75.

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In the year to March 2023, 947,000 free TV licences were issued, worth more than £150 million in total.

However, with eligibility linked to an existing pension credit award, as well as relying on an application being made, nearly 1.5 million older people are still missing out, according to Policy in Practice.

This figure includes the 807,704 people eligible for pension credit who haven’t put in a claim to receive it.

On top of the free TV licence eligibility at 75, these households are estimated to be missing out on up to £2,677 a year in extra support.

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You can check your eligibility for a free TV licence by visiting www.gov.uk/pension-credit.


IF you want to watch or record live TV, you need a TV licence.

Live TV includes all programmes on any channel, including soaps, series, documentaries and even movies.

The rules apply even if you don’t watch the shows on an actual TV – for example, if you watch programmes that are being broadcast live on a PC, laptop, tablet or phone.

A colour TV licence currently costs £169.50 a year. A licence for watching a black and white TV costs £57.

You can legally use on-demand TV services (apart from BBC iPlayer) as long as you aren’t using them to stream live TV without a TV licence.

This includes streaming catch-up content on ITV Player, All 4, My5, BT Vision/BT TV, Virgin Media, Sky Go, Now TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.

You also don’t need a TV licence to watch video clips that aren’t live through services such as YouTube.

Who is eligible for pension credit?

Pension credit is available to people over the State Pension age, currently 66, who live in EnglandScotland or Wales.

To qualify, you must have a weekly income of less than £218.15 if you are single and £332.95 if you are in a couple.

Your income is worked out taking into account various elements, including:

  • Your State pension
  • Any other pensions you have saved, for instance, workplace or private pension savings
  • Most social security benefits, for example, carer’s allowance
  • Any savings or investments worth over £10,000
  • Earnings from a job

It’s worth noting that the calculation does not include:

  • Attendance allowance
  • Christmas bonus
  • Disability living allowance
  • Personal independence payments (PIP)
  • Housing benefit
  • Council tax reduction
‘Don’t get scammed’, warns money saving expert as con artists use TV licence rise to dupe Brits

How much can you get?

There are two parts to the benefit, and pensioners can be eligible for one or both parts – here are the current rates for the tax year:

  • Guarantee credit – tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. This is £218.15 a week if you’re single and £332.95 a week for married couples.
  • Savings credit – provides extra money if you’ve saved money towards retirement. You can get an extra 17.01 a week for a single person or £19.04 a week for a married couple.


You can also get additional pension credit if you have a disability or caring responsibilities or have to pay certain housing costs such as mortgage interest payments.

For example, you can get either £66.29 a week or £76.79 a week for each child you’re responsible for.

How do I apply for pension credit?

YOU can start your application up to four months before you reach state pension age.

Applications for pension credit can be made on the government website or by ringing the pension credit claim line on 0800 99 1234.

You can get a friend or family member to ring for you, but you’ll need to be with them when they do.

You’ll need the following information about you and your partner if you have one:

  • National Insurance number
  • Information about any income, savings and investments you have
  • Information about your income, savings and investments on the date you want to backdate your application to (usually three months ago or the date you reached state pension age)

If you claim after you reach pension age, you can backdate your claim for up to three months.

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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