Jeremy Vine: Caller slams calls to scrap free over 60s prescriptions
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State pension age changes could have an impact on key entitlements in the future, it is worth noting. A free bus pass is considered vital for many older people, as it assists in getting out and about without cost.
Whether it is to attend doctor’s appointments, undertake the weekly shop, or to see friends and family, a free bus pass can be a great help.
Currently, those who live in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London can get a free bus pass at the age of 60.
However, in most places in England, individuals will need to wait until they reach state pension age to receive one.
It is therefore worth noting the changes to state pension age which are set to take place in the future.
The current state pension age is 66, however, it will change as legislation has already been laid out.
The state pension age will increase to 67, and subsequently to 68 in the coming years.
Unless the rules on the free bus pass change, it means many more in England will have to wait longer to become entitled.
A similar circumstances may occur as it relates to the free prescription, however, this is yet to be decided.
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At present, a consultation is taking place on whether the free prescription age in England should align with the state pension age.
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, people can currently get free prescriptions regardless of their age.
In England, however, the free prescription age is currently 60.
It means those who have not yet reached this age, or are not exempt in another way, will have to pay £9.35 per item.
Proposals have suggested the free prescription age should align with state pension age, meaning it could increase to 66, and rise subsequently.
If the proposals did go ahead, it would mean hundreds of thousands of residents in England would have to wait potentially an extra six years to get a free prescription.
A DHSC spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk: “Around 90 percent of community prescription items in England are free of charge, and people don’t pay if they are on a low income, or have certain medical conditions.
“The upper age exemption, 60-years-old, has not changed since 1995 and that is why we have consulted on restoring the link with the state pension age.
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“We are considering the responses carefully and will respond in due course.”
People can check their eligibility for a free bus pass, and their state pension age by visiting GOV.UK.
The Government tool informs Britons, under current rules:
- When they will reach state pension age
- When they will be eligible for free bus travel
- Their Pension Credit qualifying age.
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