In England, eligibility for the free bus pass is aligned with the UK statutory retirement age, which is currently 66. This free benefit was created to support seniors and relieve them of their travel costs. However, potential changes to the statutory retirement age could see those over 60 waiting longer for this vital help.
Under current government legislation, the legal retirement age threshold is set at 67 years.
This change is expected to be implemented by 2028 and will increase to 68 between 2044 and 2046.
The government is telling the British public about this change in advance to let them know when they will receive their pension benefits.
As part of the state pension, those who claim it are entitled to various other free benefits, including the free bus pass.
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Financial experts warn that the state’s promised changes to the retirement age could hurt the poorest in society.
The UK is in the midst of a cost of living crisis, which is affecting the country’s elderly exponentially.
Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell, explained how retirees face even greater poverty.
Mr Selby explained: “For people on very low incomes, raising the statutory retirement age by just one year may be enough to send people into serious financial trouble.
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“And while there are ways to replace at least some of that lost income – either through in-work benefits, from your private pension or by working longer – evidence suggests that many people cannot. or do not want to go down this path.
“As a result, millions of people have seen their public pension income fall by an average of £142 a week, or more than £7,000 over the year.
“Even taking into account the increase in private income, the average net income has fallen by £108 per week.
“For anyone already struggling to make ends meet, losing thousands of pounds of retirement income will inevitably force them to make painful budget choices to survive.”
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Anyone wishing to benefit from this assistance can log on to the government website to find the contact details of their local authority.
Applications for free bus passes can be made through a local State Pensioners’ Council.
Alternative rules for bus discounts and concessions apply depending on which UK country you live in.
For example, young people in Scotland are entitled to free bus travel if they have a new National Entitlement Card (NEC).