MARTIN Lewis has slammed the BBC for implying that it might stop Brits over 75 from reclaiming money they’ve accidentally paid in TV licence fees from next year.
At the moment, anyone above the age of 75 can get a free TV licence, but many accidentally pay anyway and then have to to claim refunds.
1 The BBC hasn’t ruled out that it may stop allowing 0ver 75s to reclaim money paid on the TV licence by mistakeCredit: PA:Press Association
But from next June, the BBC plans to end free TV licences for pensioners above the age of 75 unless they get pension credit.
When asked if pensioners will still be able to claim back cash accidentally paid under the current rules, the BBC said it was “considering” what will happen, according to MoneySavingExpert.
The corporation also couldn’t guarantee that it’ll allow Brits to do so after the rule change.
It’s likely thousands of customers would be affected, as MoneySavingExpert found in October that almost £38million have been refunded in the past three years to those above the age of 75.
We’ve asked TV Licensing for the latest figures and will update this article if we get a response.
So if you’re over 75 and have been accidentally paying for your TV licence, it may be best to reclaim the cash now.
How to watch TV legally without paying for a licenceIN the UK, any household watching or recording live television must hold a TV licence.In recent years, this has been extended to include BBC programmes on iPlayer, whether they are live, catch up or on demand. But does everyone really need a licence? Here’s the lowdown on how to avoid paying – legally.
On demand TV – like catch-up TV and on demand previews – which are available through services like ITV Player , All4 , My5 , BT Vision/BT TV , Virgin Media , Sky Go , Now TV, Apple TV, Chromecast , Roku and Amazon Fire TV
On demand movies – from services like Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video
Recorded films and programmes – either via DVD or Blu-ray, or downloaded from the internet
YouTube – On demand video clips through services like YouTube
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert, said: “We know that people are confused about the free TV licence, and the upcoming changes will only make that worse.
“So to coincide that with stopping people reclaiming money when they have wrongly paid would be simply outrageous.
“If, as the BBC has said, it does end up linking the licence fee to pension credit, then as a bare minimum it should link it to pension credit eligibility not as it has said to claiming pension credit – as 1.3million eligible people don’t get the credit.
“With the right mechanism, it can use this as a way to signpost people to getting pension credit too, doing a valuable social good.
“And those who miss out, and should’ve got it but only realise later, should be allowed to back claim.”
A spokesperson for BBC told MoneySavingExpert: “The current scheme remains in place and allows refunds to be provided when a licence is unnecessarily purchased, and while details of the new scheme are still being worked through it would be wrong to draw the conclusion that refunds for historic purchases made unnecessarily will end.”
The Sun has contacted BBC for a comment and will update this story if we get a response.
How to reclaim cash
The free licence for seniors is not issued automatically once you reach the minimum age, which means some forget to stop paying.
So to get a refund, over 75s first need to apply for a free TV licence on the TV Licensing website or by calling 0300 790 6130.
When it processes your application, it’ll give you a refund of any money you’ve overpaid.
Your payment will be backdated to the first month of your 75th birthday, or if you started paying after your 75th birthday, you’ll get the refund calculated from that date.
If you’re not yet 75, you can also plan in advance and get a short-term TV licence from the age of 74 to cover you until your birthday.
This can also be done on the TV Licensing website.
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Telly fans used to be able to watch their favourite shows on BBC iPlayer for free but since 2016 the Government closed the loophole.
Now, you have to pay the annual fee if you’re watching live TV or the BBC catch-up service on any device.
The BBC first announced a consultation into ditching the perk for seniors back in November 2018.
Charity Age UK warned that the extra bill could trigger “great worry and distress” to thousands of vulnerable pensioners.
A reported commissioned by the BBC also found that thousands of UK’s poorest pensioners would miss out on free TV licence.
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