Free bus passes to be axed for millions of pensioners under new government law

By Isabella Boneham
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 10:52 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 6:04 pm
UK bus

Millions of pensioners who currently fit the criteria for a free bus pass in England may become ineligible under new government law.

Under the changes, the reductions for elderly people using public transport could change and decrease, costing pensioners more money to get around.

In England the age of eligibility for free bus passes currently is the same as it is for claiming state pension - 66 years old.

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However, there are different rules for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales with people able to apply at age 60.

Here’s who is eligible for a free bus pass and how you can get one.

How will pensioners be affected by the new law?

The government is set to increase the state pension age from 66 to 67 years old between 2026 and 2028.

The national retirement age is also expected to go up to 68 years old in 2048.

The increase to retirement age will affect state pensioner’s ability to get hold of a free bus pass.

However, this still could change with government policy and if life expectancy data changes.

How can I check if I am currently eligible for a free bus pass?

To work out if you are eligible for a free bus pass in England, you must have reached the national retirement age.

Queries are likely to surface regarding individual questions of eligibility, so the government has launched a tool to help people.

More information about how to get a free bus pass can be found on the government website.

How do I apply for a bus pass?

State pension claimants can enter their postcode online to be provided with contact details for their local council.

If local authorities are contacted instead, local council procedures can change when it comes to administering free bus passes.

Stephen Lowe, Group Communications Director at Just Group, advises state pensioners to see the value in lesser-known benefits that are important for the lives of pensioners across the country.

Mr Lowe said:  “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.”