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Freebies and discounts for over-55s

Your Life
Monday 15 July 2019
When you’re in or approaching retirement, you may have to start caring for the pennies a little more. And there are schemes, discounts and dispensations in place to help you.
But do you know when you become eligible for them? We’ve rounded up some of the more common ones below. 


Cheap cinema tickets

Although money may be a bit tighter, that doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying yourself. For example, every Wednesday, Odeon Cinemas hold Silver Screenings for over-55s. 
Tickets are £3, which also includes free refreshments. You can see what’s on near you here.
Vue and Empire offer similar deals, although you have to be 60 or over to claim. 


Free bus pass
If you live in London, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, when you turn 60, you can apply for a free bus pass. It’s a great way to keep up your social or work activities while saving a little bit of cash.
It’s a straightforward application process too. If you live in England or Wales, head over to the gov.uk website using this link, type in your postcode, and you’ll be directed to your local county council’s website where you can apply. 
If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, there are links to where you need to visit a little further down the gov.uk page. 
For those who live in England, but outside London, you can get a free bus pass when you reach female State Pension age, which depends on when you were born. Check your State Pension age here.  

Senior railcard

If a bus won’t cut it, or you simply prefer to travel by train, then get your hands on a senior railcard. 
It’s £30 a year and will get you 1/3 off rail fares across Britain. On their website, they show you how much you could save on a single journey. So, if you have a long trip to make, it may even be worth it for a one-off. 

Free prescriptions

There’s no getting away from it, as you get older, it’s likely you will need to visit the chemist more. And with prescriptions in England £9 per item, it can be costly. 
However, when you reach 60, you no longer have to pay. 

Free NHS sight tests

Similarly to prescriptions, once you reach 60, NHS sight tests become free. As well, Specsavers and Boots Opticians offer discounts on glasses to those over 60, including big-name brands. 


Winter fuel payment

Winter fuel payments come in the form of a tax-free annual lump sum. Last year, more than 12 million people received one. And as things stand, if you’re 65 or over, you will too. 

Smart meter
Depending on who lives in your property, and when they were born, you will either get £200 per household, or £300. It's explained in more detail below.

If you were born between 24/09/1938 and 5/11/1953 and
Live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify) = £200
Live with someone under 80 who also qualifies = £100
Live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies = £100
Live in a care home and do not get certain benefits = £100

If you were born on or before 23/09/1938 and
Live alone (or none of the people you live with qualify) = £300
Live with someone under 80 who also qualifies = £200
Live with someone 80 or over who also qualifies = £150
Live in a care home and do not get certain benefits = £150
You usually don’t have to make a claim for your winter fuel payment – you’ll get it automatically if you’re eligible. Although, if any of the following apply, you’ll have to.
  • You haven’t claimed before
  • You do not get benefits or a State Pension
  • You only get Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Child Benefit
  • You get benefits or a State Pension but live in Switzerland or an EEAcountry
If this applies to you, and you’re eligible, you can claim via email by clicking here, or over the phone on 0800 731 0160. 

Discounted sports tickets

Most football, rugby and cricket clubs will offer discounted tickets to those over 65. In some cases, it can be as much as half price. 
Check out your club or team’s website, or contact their ticket office, and they should be able to give you more information. 

State Pension age

National Insurance cut

Once you reach State Pension age, you no longer have to pay National Insurance, even if you continue working. And although it may not be as much as Income Tax, which you still have to pay, the savings can make a sizeable difference to your bank balance.
For example, during the 2019/20 tax year, if you earn £29,000 – which is just shy of the UK’s average wage – you’ll save £2,444. Which?have a handy Income Tax calculator to work out what you might save. 


Free TV licence

As things stand, you can claim a free TV licence once you reach 75. If you have a colour licence, that saves you £154.40 a year.  It’s also worth noting, if you’re 74, you can apply for a short-term licence. It will last until your next birthday, and once you turn 75, they will automatically cancel your direct debit. 
It’s easy to apply for a free or short-term licence. You can either do it on the TV Licencing website, or over the phone on 0300 790 6071. 


Free passport

As you approach your 90thbirthday, you will be entitled to a free passport. If you were born on or before 2/9/1929, you no longer have to pay for one. 
There are two ways in which you can do it. One is online using gov.uk, or the other is through a Post Office which offers the Passport Check and Send service. However, it’s worth noting that if you do it in store, there’s a £9.75 charge. 
So, there you are. A few freebies and tips to help you save money as you approach, reach or enjoy your retirement. 
All information is correct at time of publication.
Page last updated: Friday 17 December 2021