As it stands, the state pension age in the UK is 66 years of age but this is set to rise in the coming years. A consequence of this will be that certain freebie benefits linked to the state pension age threshold will no longer be available to those who turn 66. However, there are other ways people could be eligible for benefits, such as a free bus pass, with the older person’s pass linked to state pension age in England.
How is the state pension going to change?
Under the Government’s current plans, the state pension age will rise from 66 to 67 in between 2026 and 2028.
As well as this, another increase to the pension age is expected to take place sometime before 2048.
Changes to the state pension are based on the life expectancy expectations among the UK population.
However, these estimates are subject to changes in the wider world so further hikes to the pension age could see be postponed.
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Who is eligible for the free bus pass?
Older people in England are able to access this freebie benefit once they turn state pension age – which is currently 66.
However, once this retirement age threshold is raised to 67, people will have to wait longer than they previously would have done.
Alternative concessions are available to those depending on other criteria, such as whether someone claims benefits or has a disability.
Notably, those living in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales become eligible for the free bus pass once they turn 60.
As well as this, older residents in London could get a Freedom Pass which qualifies them for free bus travel.
This means that any changes to the state pension age will not affect their claim to the freebie benefit.
As well as this, under 22s who are residents in Scotland can claim free bus travel as of January last year.
To claim this support, young people living in the country must apply for a new National Entitlement Card (NEC).
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On top of this, anyone who does not have arms or is unable to use their arms in England can get a free bus pass.
Furthermore, those with a diagnosed learning disability which is deemed as severe can get this benefit.
If someone has been refused a driving licence due to their poor health, they also may be eligible for a free bus pass in certain circumstances.
There is also a concession for Universal Credit claimants who may be able get 50 percent off their travel expenses while job hunting.
For those concerned about the pending state pension age changes, experts are encouraging people to see what other ways they can get discounts on their travel costs.
Age UK outlines guidance for older people who are searching for ways to save money on their bus fare.
On its website, the charity explained: “It can also be worth contacting individual transport operators to see if they offer discounts.
“For example, National Express offers Coachcards to older or disabled customers, which cost £12.50 and save you a third on your travel across the year.”