In certain countries around the world, a TV licence is required to watch television. One of these places is the UK. Currently, in the UK, the full TV licence fee is £159 per year. But some people can obtain it for free or at a discounted price. This article looks at who can receive a free or discounted TV licence and how to go about the application.
- What Is a TV Licence?
- Who Is Responsible for the TV Licence Administration?
- What Happens If You Watch TV without a Licence?
- Who Is Eligible for a Free or Discounted TV Licence
- How To Apply for a Free or Discounted TV Licence
- What Happens If You Have Already Paid for a TV Licence?
- Make Sure You Are Covered
What Is a TV Licence?
In simple terms, a TV licence is an authorisation certificate that permits people to install or use TV equipment to receive television programs. In the UK, a TV licence is necessary to watch or record live television programs on any TV channel. It will include channels such as the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky, Freeview, Virgin Media, etc.
Using live streaming services such as All 4, ITVX, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video on any device, including television, smartphone, tablet or PC also requires a TV licence. Finally, you must hold a TV licence to use the BBC’s iPlayer service.
A TV licence typically covers the whole household. Anyone living in the same house is covered as long as one person has obtained a licence.
Who Is Responsible for the TV Licence Administration?
The UK government agency known as TV Licensing administers the licensing process. Any questions regarding TV licences should be directed at them. You can visit them online or call them on 0300 7906096 for assistance.
What Happens If You Watch TV without a Licence?
A license is not required if you don’t own a TV or watch television on any other device. However, the TV Licensing authorities regularly carry out checks on households without a licence. An enforcement officer may visit your property, and you could face fines if you watch TV without a licence. Nevertheless, enforcement officers are not legally entitled to enter your home without your permission or a warrant.
You could make a no-license-required declaration through the TV licensing website. There is no legal obligation to do so. But, it will help you obtain a refund on any already paid licensing fees and possibly stop the TV licensing authorities from investigating further.
Who Is Eligible for a Free or Discounted TV Licence
It enables holders to receive their licence for free or at a reduced price. Free or discounted TV licences are not available for most of the population; it is there for a specific subset of people. Let’s look at who qualifies.
People Who Are Aged 75 and over
Those who are aged 75 and over can receive a free TV licence if these two conditions are met:
- They receive pension credit
- Their partner, who they live with, gets the pension credit benefit
People can apply for exemptions when they are 74; the coverage will begin at 75. Until they reach 75, a television licence is required. The important criterion here is pension credit.
Some people think anyone over 80s is eligible for a free licence, which is unfortunately not the case. Though in the past, anyone aged 75 and over was given a free TV licence, the rules in recent years have changed and certain conditions need to be met.
People Living in Sheltered Accommodation or Residential Care
A TV licence is available for £7.50 for people who live in sheltered accommodation, supported housing, or an eligible residential care home. To qualify, they must be:
The housing management team from the residential or sheltered home will carry out the checks and make the application to ensure the residents are covered.
People Who Are Registered as Blind
A 50% discount is available to those who are registered blind. Everyone in the same household as the TV licence holder is covered. That will include their partner, children, siblings, etc.
How To Apply for a Free or Discounted TV Licence
You can apply online or by post. For online applications, visit the TV Licensing website. To apply by post, you must download the application form. In both instances, you will need to send in supporting documentation to confirm eligibility, such as evidence that you are receiving pension credit.
What Happens If You Have Already Paid for a TV Licence?
If you have already paid for a full TV licence and you become eligible for concessions, contact the TV Licensing authority. They will be able to issue a refund. It could be that, for example, you recently started to receive pension credit, and therefore eligible for a free licence.
Make Sure You Are Covered
Concession in the form of free or discounted TV licences is available for those aged 75 and over and on pension credit, people who are registered blind, and those living in residential care or sheltered accommodation. If you qualify, be sure to take advantage as it will enable you to save money at a time when the economy is not in the optimum shape.