Department for Work and Pensions

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Changes to State Pension age: effect on concessionary benefits

From April 2010, the age at which women become entitled to State Pension will gradually increase, to 65 by April 2020, bringing it into line with State Pension age for men.

The Government is reviewing the current timetable for increasing the State Pension age. No decision has yet been made as to how this timetable will change. Any change would require the approval of Parliament.

The qualifying age for some concessionary benefits currently available at age 60, such as concessionary travel, will increase for both men and women in line with this change to female State Pension age.

Anyone who has already qualified for these benefits under existing rules will continue to be entitled.

Any changes to the qualifying age for these benefits will apply equally, so that men and women born on the same day will continue to become entitled at the same time.

The changes are different depending on the type of concessionary benefit.

Travel

The qualifying age for concessionary travel is changing in England in line with the gradual increase in women’s State Pension age.

Use the State Pension age calculator on Directgov to find out when someone can get their State Pension and also when they can get their free bus pass.

For further information and guidance contact the Concessionary Travel branch at the Department for Transport at concessionaryfares@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Arrangements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may differ and people should check with their relevant service provider for details.

Free prescriptions

There will be no change to the qualifying age for free prescriptions in England in April 2010. The Department of Health is considering how to implement changes to the qualifying age for free prescriptions to reflect changes to State Pension age.

For further information and guidance visit the Department of Health website – www.dh.gov.uk

Arrangements are different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Free sight tests

Entitlement to NHS funded sight tests continue unchanged.

Other concessionary benefits

The qualifying age for other concessionary benefits may also change and people should check with their relevant service provider for details.