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TV Licensing assures customers that implementing the new over 75s licence fee concession will be Covid-19 safe

Following the BBC Board’s confirmation that the BBC will begin the new scheme covering the over 75s licence fee concession from 1 August this year, TV Licensing is assuring customers that implementation of the new scheme will be Covid-19 safe.

TV Licensing will soon be writing directly to over 75s customers with clear guidance, highlighting that no one will need to take immediate action, or leave their home, to claim a free TV Licence or to pay for one.

Information about how those receiving Pension Credit can apply for a free licence and the payment options that will be available for those who will need to buy a licence will be sent to customers from next month. No one will be expected to pay for a new licence until they have been contacted by letter from TV Licensing and they will be given plenty of time to set up their new licence.

Payment options include the launch of the 75+ Plan, that will allow over 75s switching from a free licence to a licence they pay for, to spread the cost in weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments to make it easier to pay.

The BBC delayed the introduction of the new scheme which was due to come into effect on 1 June as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Following a public consultation the BBC announced last summer that after the previous arrangement for free over 75 licences paid for by the UK Government came to an end the BBC 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.

Around 1.5 million households with residents aged over 75 will be eligible for a free TV Licence funded by the BBC if they receive Pension Credit. TV Licensing is operating a self-verification system where individuals simply need to demonstrate their receipt of Pension Credit in order to qualify and 450,000 have already applied for a free licence.

Recognising that some customers may need extra support with the new scheme, TV Licensing has increased the size of its customer call centre and has launched a free telephone information line 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, tvlicensing.co.uk/age.

TV Licensing worked with the Alzheimer’s Society and other groups working with older people to ensure that needs of vulnerable older people have been taken into consideration when preparing the customer communications around the changes to over 75 licences.

Every year TV Licensing work with hundreds of money advice and community organisations across the country to help support those who struggle to pay the licence fee. TV Licensing provides support including a money advisors helpline, regular briefings and accessible literature that can be provided to customers finding it difficult to stay correctly licensed. In addition, we ask the organisations we work with to provide feedback and guidance in the design of our services and communications to customers to ensure that we are providing the best support and service we can.

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