Over half a million pensioners missing out on free TV license



A local breakdown of unclaimed Pension Credit highlights where more than 589,000 pensioners are missing out on free TV license, according to data analysed by national poverty charity, Turn2us.

The findings show that a number of retired adults are missing out on payments, potentially worth hundreds of pounds each week, as well as the free TV license.

Since 1st August, the BBC introduced a new concessionary TV licence scheme for people aged 75 and over, if they are in receipt of Pension Credit. However, it is estimated that only 61% of people actually claim their entitlement to Pension Credit, meaning that hundreds of thousands of pensioners are currently missing out and will lose their free TV license as a result.

Table 1: Regional breakdown of unclaimed Pension Credit


Minimum number of pensioners over 75 not claiming their Pension Credit entitlement


East Midlands


East of England




North East


North West




South East


South West




West Midlands


Yorkshire and the Humber


As of March 2019, there were 4.6 million free TV licences in the UK, accounting for 17.6% of all TV licences. If everyone claims their Pension Credit, then around 1.5 million households with a pensioner over the age of 75 would have a free TV license moving forward as well as a potentially significant weekly payment.

Turn2us has worked out how many pensioners in each local authority are not claiming their Pension Credit – with Birmingham alone having 13,006 households missing out.

Table 2: Local authority breakdown of unclaimed Pension Credit

Local authority*

Minimum number of pensioners over 75's not claiming their Pension Credit entitlement




Glasgow City








(*email for a full local authority breakdown)

Anna Stevenson, Welfare Benefit Expert, at Turn2us said: “Pension Credit is a lifeline for older people stuck on low incomes in retirement, and now it is the only route to getting a free TV license. So it is more important, now than ever, to claim it.

“The extra income, and so called ‘passport-benefits’ that Pension Credit unlocks, can go a long way to helping many older people keep their head above water and avoid being pulled into poverty.

“We urge everyone of pension age to use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator and find out if you are entitled to Pension Credit then make that claim.

Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman said:

“Currently, 1.5 million older people across Great Britain receive extra financial help through Pension Credit. But there are still a significant number of older people who might be missing out.

“We’re keen to get the message out there that everyone should claim the benefits they’re entitled to and I would encourage anyone who thinks they might be eligible for Pension Credit to check.

“It only takes a few minutes for people to check that they are getting all they’re entitled to. Visit or call 0800 99 1234.”

How to claim Pension Credit:

  1. Use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator to find out if you are entitled to Pension Credit
  2. Contact the Pensions Credit team by telephone (0800 99 1234), textphone (0800 169 0133) or online:
  3. Collate the following information: National Insurance Number, weekly income, details of savings and investments, information on housing costs
  4. Your claim for Pension Credit can them be backdated up to three months