Elderly residents who get a free TV licence are being re-assured they will be supported through the changes after the BBC scrapped automatic free licences for viewers aged 75 and over.
Following a public consultation, the BBC has announced that from June next year they will fund a free licence for over 75s in receipt of Pension Credit. Information about the BBC’s decision can be found at bbc.co.uk/age.
All TV Licensing customers over 75 will remain covered by a free TV licence until May 31 2020
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 also 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. Information and frequently asked questions can also be found on the TV Licensing website, tvl.co.uk/age.
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.