In the 2015 funding settlement, the Government agreed with the BBC that responsibility for the concession would transfer to the BBC. The implementation of the licence fee and the concession from June 2020 is a matter for the BBC and TV Licensing, which are independent of Government.
However, we expect the BBC to put in place robust plans to support those who might be affected. The BBC has said it will write to all over 75 TV licence holders advising them of how the new policy will work and when they need to act.
Irrespective of this, the Government is committed to ensuring that older people receive the support they are entitled to and the DWP targets activity on engaging with people who may be eligible to benefits at pivotal stages, such as when they claim State Pension or report a change in their circumstances. The DWP uses a wide range of channels to communicate information about benefits to potential claimants; including information on gov.uk, in leaflets and by telephone. DWP staff in Pension Centres and Jobcentres including visiting officers are able to provide help and advice about entitlement to benefits, as are staff in Local Authorities who administer Housing Benefit.
Potential claimants can use the Pension Credit calculator to check if they are likely to be eligible and get an estimate of what they may receive. People wishing to claim Pension Credit can do so by calling 0800 99 1234.
One of the best ways to reach eligible claimants is through trusted stakeholder working in the community and we have developed the Pension Credit toolkit, as an on-line tool for agencies and welfare rights organisations to use in order to encourage Pension Credit take-up.
The toolkit contains resources for anyone working with pensioners and includes guides to Pension Credit. It also contains publicity material and guidance designed to help older people understand how they could get Pension Credit and help organisations support someone applying for Pension Credit as well as ideas for encouraging take-up. The toolkit also provides links to information about disability and carers benefits.
Most recently we have provided to relevant stakeholders a fact sheet about Pension Credit and the changes introduced on 15 May for mixed age couples to ensure that accurate information is available in the places where people are most likely to seek information.