Thousands of Britons could qualify for TV licence discount

David Dimbleby says that TV licence system is ‘very unfair’

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Costing an annual fee of £159, purchasing a TV licence can feel like a sizeable tariff amongst a growing list of other increasingly expensive outgoings. However, some groups could be eligible for a 50 percent discount, and others could even get one for free.

Inflation rates hit 9.9 percent in September and with this figure only forecast to increase, Britons have been searching for ways to keep costs low at home.

From cancelling subscriptions and executing energy-saving tips, to seeking financial support they may be eligible for, there are a few routes Britons have been exploring to reduce their bills.

But, another area people could look into is the TV licence, as certain conditions could enable someone to pay a reduced fee.

If requirements are met, people can get discounts ranging from 50 percent to 100 percent, which can make for a significant saving.

It’s also worth people checking whether they need one at all, as TV licences are only required for those who watch live TV and BBC iPlayer – and not everybody does.

Who is entitled to a 50 percent discount?

If a person is blind or lives with someone who is blind, they could be entitled to a blind concession TV licence.

A 50 percent discount is applied to the licence, bringing the annual fee down from £159 to £79.50 for a colour TV licence and £26.75 for a black and white TV licence.

According to the charity Royal National Institute of Blind People, there are 340,000 registered as blind in the UK, making it imperative to ensure that such a large group are aware of the hefty discount available.

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To claim a concession licence, people must provide at least one of the following documents to confirm they are certified as blind:

  • A CVI (Certificate of Visual Impairment)
  • A BD8 Certificate
  • A certificate or document issued by a Local Authority that shows they are registered as blind (severely sight impaired)
  • A copy of a certificate from an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon), stating that they are blind (severely sight impaired).

Those who live with someone who is blind and already has a TV licence will have to transfer the licence into the name of the person who is blind, in order to claim.

To do this, people should make a first-time blind application, but enter the existing TV Licence number for the address into the form.

It must be noted that those who are partially sight impaired will not qualify for the blind concession.

People who have already paid the full licence fee but find out they qualify for the blind concession can apply for a refund.

Who is entitled to a free TV Licence?

People can get a free TV Licence if they, as the licence holder, are 75 years or older and they, or their partner living at the same address, receive Pension Credit.

Pension Credit is a benefit that tops up the state pension for those on a low income, however, it has the lowest take-up of all income-related benefits, according to the Independent Age charity.

So, it could be a good time for people to check if they’re also eligible for this, as it can also help people claim help with housing costs, heating bills, council tax, NHS dental care, and more.

People who are 75 or over and live in a residential care home may be covered by an ARC (Accommodation for Residential Care) TV Licence and won’t have to pay for a licence – even if they don’t receive Pension Credit.

TV Licencing advises people to speak to their care home administrator to find out.

When do people need a TV licence?

Households must purchase a TV licence if they want to watch or record TV programmes live as they’re broadcast.

This includes all programmes on any channel, from soaps to documentaries and movies. The same rules apply to those who watch live TV from a laptop, PC, tablet, or phone.

A licence is also needed if members of a household download or watch programmes broadcast on BBC iPlayer – live, catch up, or on demand.

The licence also covers online TV services such as ITV Hub, All 4, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV or Sky Go. However, unlike with BBC iPlayer, it’s not needed if a person only ever watches on-demand programmes on these TV services.

When don’t people need a TV licence?

So, if people find themselves only watching catch-up TV (not including BBC iPlayer), they won’t need a TV licence – as long as they’re not using the TV services to watch anything live.

Households also don’t need a TV licence to watch streaming services like Netflix or Disney+.

However, it’s vital to be sure everyone in the same household follows the rules, otherwise, they could be hit with a £1,000 fine, while those in Guernsey and Jersey could face fines of up to £2000 and £500, respectively.

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