Thousands of people will be eligible for a free TV licence due to new government reforms.
Currently, anyone eligible for a free TV licence has to send documentation to support their claim to the BBC, but the government is changing the rules to reduce the “administrative burden” on those eligible.
The changes will spare people from having to do this in the future, instead allowing the BBC to automatically verify with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who is entitled to a free TV licence.
It is believed that around 7,000 people on low incomes will benefit from the change each month.
Pensions minister 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.”
Who is entitled to a free TV licence?
You must have a TV Licence if you:
- watch or record programmes on a TV, computer or other device as they are broadcast- download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand
If you are aged 75 years or older and you or your partner receive Pension Credit, you are entitled to a free TV licence.
Previously, all over 75s received a free TV licence but this stopped in July 2020 due to BBC budget cuts.
A standard colour TV Licence costs £159 per year, while a black and white licence costs £53.50. If you are registered blind or you live with someone who is, you can get a 50% discount proving the licence is in the blind person’s name.
If it is not, you can make a new application to transfer it into their name and you will need to provide your existing TV licence number when applying.
The licence fee is expected to be scrapped in 2027 when the BBC’s current royal charter ends.
Culture secretary Nadine Dorries indicated that the broadcaster will need to find a new funding model after that date.
What does the TV licence cover?
A single TV Licence covers all of the following in a single property:
- TV sets- computers- laptops- tablets- mobile phones- any other device that can receive a TV signal
You do not need a TV Licence to watch any of the following:
- non-BBC programmes on online catch-up services- videos or DVDs- clips on websites like YouTube- closed circuit television (CCTV)
If you watch or record live TV without a TV licence you can be fined up to £1,000.
How do I apply for a free TV licence?
If you are eligible, you can apply for a free TV licence online via the TV Licensing website.
You can also request an application form by calling 0300 790 6117 between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm from Monday to Friday.