Published: 06:00, 31 July 2021
Pensioners risk a £1,000 fine if they do not have a TV licence in place from this Sunday.
Last year the BBC confirmed it was going to begin charging those aged over 75 for their television licence as part of cash-saving measures.
However the introduction of the scheme was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, and an almost year-long transition was put in place, which meant older people who didn't initially buy a licence would not be slapped with a penalty charge.
But that period of grace runs out today and from tomorrow (Sunday, August 1) all those aged over 75 who don't meet the exemption, estimated to be more than 3.5 million people, will need to have bought their licence or risk prosecution.
A TV Licence currently costs £159.
Those who receive additional financial support in the form of pension credit are entitled to a free licence under the new scheme and won't be expected to pay. This is estimated, says the BBC, to be around 1.5 million households.
While those over 75, who up until now have received their licence for free, will be given numerous options for paying the annual fee if they haven't done so says TV Licensing, the body which oversees the scheme.
Payment options it says, include the launched of the 75+ Plan that will allow over 75s switching from a free licence to a paid-for licence to spread the cost in weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments if they wish to make it easier to afford the new outgoing.
You need a TV licence to watch or record live programmes on any television channel in the UK or if you're watching something live using an online streaming service on any type of device. Using these services, without paying, risks prosecution or a fine up to £1,000.
Catch-up services such as those available through the ITV hub, All 4 or My5 are available without a licence if you're watching programmes after they've initially aired and not live however you cannot watch or download programmes connected to BBC iPlayer without a TV licence and visitors are reminded of that when they visit its website.
TV Licensing says around nine in 10 over 75s have now made arrangements to begin paying for their TV licence. But last month the BBC said an estimated 260,000 pensioners were still to submit their application and enforcement would be explored for those refusing to pay once the amnesty on July 31 comes to an end.
Silver Voices is among those campaigning to get free licences restored for all those aged over 75.
The campaign group says nine out of 10 of its over 75 members voted to support a strike protesting at the scrapping of free licences.
In a message on its website it says: "Silver Voices will support and advise all senior citizens who have decided to withhold their licence fee. The immediate objective of the action is to persuade the Government and the BBC to stop blaming each other and discuss ways to restore free licences as soon as possible."
Saturday, July 31 is also the deadline for those receiving tax credits to also renew their applications. To learn more click here.
To learn more buying your TV licence visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk