If you have an elderly relative who is fretting about having to pay for their TV licence when they haven’t needed to do so until recently, tell them to do nothing. They will shortly be receiving a letter from the BBC telling them what to do.
‘ Starting in August, will be writing to you to explain what you need to do to set up your next licence. You will have plenty of time to do that. Meanwhile, don’t worry – you’re covered,’ says the BBC information website.
There is also good information on https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/for-your-home/aged-74-and-over-aud3. The site explains that those receiving pension credit will not have to pay the charge and will be eligible for a free licence.
However, Age UK is concerned that millions of older people could give up on a free licence because they’re worried about fraud in the application process.
It’s because Capita telephone helpline staff hired by the BBC can ask callers to send copies of their bank statements as proof that they receive the pension credit. Callers to the helpline will be asked to send in a photocopy of the pension credit documents first, but as a last resort, they could ask the pensioner to send in a copy of their bank statement.
Caroline Abrahams, director of age UK said older people would be upset thinking they may have to go out to photocopy documents or send in original papers, describing the move as an ‘administrative headache’.
But a BBC spokesman said over 75 did not need to do anything until they received a letter from the corporation. And if older people don’t wish to leave their home can’t go online, the spokesman said that call centre staff will ‘prioritise a verbal declaration process to identify if customers are in receipt of pension credit.” He added that TV Licensing is not actively seeking bank statements – ‘this is simply an option and we don’t expect to make very much use of it. The TV licensing team take extreme care with personal data and had a wide range of measures in place to it.’
So for the meantime, everyone sit tight. The letter will explain the application process and what to do if someone is receiving pension credit.