Britons could save £159 each year: Who is eligible for free TV licence

Martin Lewis viewer reveals success with pension credit

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The TV licence fee has been frozen for the next two years at £159 annual costs, but certain households could get the benefits of a licence without paying a penny. Those over the age of 75 claiming Pension Credit, the visually impaired and people in certain accommodations could be eligible for a free TV licence and a refund for any fees they may have already paid.

A TV licence is required for anyone in the UK that watches or records live television or uses BBC iPlayer for on demand content. 

Despite the name, the fee applies to all devices one can watch these programmes on including mobile phones.

However, one of the biggest ways for Britons to avoid the £159 fee is to consider whether they even watch live TV or use BBC iPlayer, if not they do not necessarily need a licence at all.  

Other on demand programmes such as ITV Hub or Netflix and listening to the radio do not require a TV licence. 

University students could still be covered by their parents’ licence and not require one of their own if all of the following conditions are met:

  • Their out-of-term address is covered by a TV licence
  • The device they use to watch TV is powered solely by its own internal battery
  • The device is also not connected to an aerial or plugged into the mains.

Students who stay in halls of residence will likely be able to watch live TV in mutual or common areas without needing a TV licence but not in their private rooms. 

Generally a property only requires one licence to cover all of the occupants, so lodgers who have a relationship with the licence holder, such as family members, nannies or housekeepers, will be covered by the licence as long as they live in the same building.

Pensioners over the age of 75 that claim Pension Credit receive a free TV licence and can receive a refund if their last bought licence expires after they turn 75. 

Additionally, if a pensioner was eligible but bought a licence as they were not aware of their entitlement can also receive a refund. 

Pension Credit recipients can apply for their free TV licence from the age of 74, this is because it may take a few weeks to process the application.

Once processed, their licence fee payments will be updated to last until the applicant’s 75 birthday.

Pensioners living in the Isle of Man, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey have separate arrangements that they can view on the TV Licensing website.

To be eligible for Pension Credit the individual must live in England, Scotland or Wales and be above state pension age.

Additionally, if they have a partner they must include their partner on their application and will only be eligible if both them and their partner have reached state pension age and at least one is receiving housing benefit for people over state pension age.

When applying for Pension Credit, one’s income is calculated along with their partner’s if applicable.

Pensioners will be eligible for the guarantee credit if their weekly income totals at £177.10 for a single person or £270.30 joint total for partners.

Those that have a disability, care for someone or savings and housing costs but have a higher income can still be eligible for the credit.

Savings and investments of £10,000 or less will not affect Pension Credit but every £500 above the threshold will count as £1 income a week in the DWP calculations.

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