Free bus pass: State pensioners in England could have to wait longer after age changes | Personal Finance | Finance

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In England, eligibility for the “freebie” benefit is aligned with the state pension age, which is currently 66. While the threshold for receiving state pension payments has remained unchanged for several years now, it is set to rise in several years. As a result, pensioners will have to wait longer for their free bus pass than they would have had to previously.

Some people in England may be able to get free travel in their local area earlier than state pension age.

Applicants for the free bus pass can check their eligibility and begin the process by logging into the GOV.UK.

The state pension age will go up from 66 to 67 in between 2026 and 2028, according to current Government plans.

Another rise to the state pension age is expected sometime before 2048 at the latest.

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These changes are based on the Government’s expectations regarding life expectancy in the UK.

As such, these estimates are subject to changes in the economy so the state pension age may be hiked at different dates than expected.

It should be noted that access to the free bus pass varies depending on where you live in the UK.

For example, residents in Scotland and Wales are able to receive the benefit once they turn 60 as opposed to the state pension age.

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Applicants for the free bus pass can check their eligibility and begin the process by logging into the GOV.UK.

On the Government’s website, future claimants are able to enter their postcode address onto the ‘Apply for an older person’s bus pass’ webpage.

On its website, Entitled to outlined how the hike to the state pension age will affect people in the near future.

The benefits experts stated: “Once the state pension age for men and women has reached 66 in October 2020 there will then be further increases.

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“Pension age is set to increase from 66 to 67 between 2026 and 2028. Rather than using specific dates for people born within a certain period, people born between April 6, 1960 and March 5, 1961 will reach pension age when they are 66 and the specified number of months below.”

As well as this, a breakdown of when the DWP will consider someone to be of state pension age was listed on the website.

Entitledto added: “A person born on July 31, 1960 is considered to reach the age of 66 years and four months on November 30, 2026.

“A person born on December 31, 1960 is considered to reach the age of 66 years and nine months on September 30, 2027.

“A person born on January 31, 1961 is considered to reach the age of 66 years and 10 months on November 30, 2027.”

Stephen Lowe, a group communications director at Just Group, discussed how vital “freebie” benefits such as the free bus pass are to state pensioners.

Examples of similar benefits for those 66 and older include a free TV licence for over 75s and the Warm Home Discount scheme.

Mr Lowe said: “The social and cultural reference to ‘freebie’ benefits means nearly all over 65s know about them but their financial value is dwarfed by other benefits which are less well known.

“The state pension alone will not provide a comfortable standard of living so checking your entitlement for other state benefits should be as much a part of planning for retirement as understanding what your private pension and other savings will provide.”

Those looking forward to their free bus pass should be aware the state pension age will rise between 2026 and 2028.





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