Someone becomes entitled to this support in the country once they reach the age of 66, which is the state pension age, but may also be entitled from 60. However, this retirement threshold is set to change in the coming years following a review by the Government. As a result, over 60s who are yet to reach state pension age will have to wait longer to access their free bus pass in the next couple of years.
Under current Government proposals, the age at which someone becomes a state pensioner will rise from 66 to 67 in between 2026 and 2028.
On top of this, an additional increase to the retirement age threshold is expected sometime before 2048 at the latest.
Changes to the state pension age are based on the Government’s expectations over life expectancy in the UK.
These forecasts are subject to changes in the wider world so the age threshold may be raised or remain the same at different dates than originally expected.
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Pensioners are entitled to various other freebie benefits and concessions to help them get by financially.
Outside the free bus pass, this includes a free TV licence for Pension Credit claimants 75 or over, Winter Fuel Payments and free prescriptions.
Analysis from Just Group State Benefits Index determined that these support schemes are worth between £2.08 and £18.03 per week each.
With the state pension age gradually increasing, over 60s are finding this support to be further and further out of their reach.
Stephen Lowe, the group communications director at Just Group, outlined the importance of support such as the free bus pass to older people in England.
He explained: “The social and cultural reference to ‘freebie’ benefits means nearly all over 65s know about them but their financial value is dwarfed by other benefits which are less well known.
“The state pension alone will not provide a comfortable standard of living so checking your entitlement for other state benefits should be as much a part of planning for retirement as understanding what your private pension and other savings will provide.”
As well as state pensioners, multiple other financially vulnerable groups are entitled to claim the free bus pass concession.
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How much is the state pension?
Freebie benefits aside, those in receipt of the state pension are able to receive regular payments once they reach the qualifying age.
As it stands, older people who get the full new state pension get £185.15 a week while those on the full basic state pension receive £141.85 a week.
The basic state pension is the amount given to claimants who reached the retirement age threshold prior to April 2016.
Next year, the full new state pension is set to rise to £203.85 a week and the basic alternative will be a weekly rate of around £156.