A television license is required to watch or broadcast programs as they are broadcast live with money intended for BBC funding. In the age of streaming, it is also necessary to watch any live content presented on services such as BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime. While TV Licensing handles the administration of license fees, the government is responsible for setting discounts and concessions for certain groups.
One of the groups is made up of people diagnosed with blindness who are entitled to a significant reduction of 50%.
Currently, the total cost of a UK television license is £159 for a color license and £53.50 for a black and white license.
In comparison, a TV license for a blind person would cost £79.50 for color and £26.75 for a black and white TV license.
With the cost of living crisis continuing to affect people’s incomes, many people will be looking for ways to reduce their costs and applying for reduced license fees can help them save.
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According to official NHS statistics, two million people live and suffer from some sort of vision loss in the UK.
Of this defined group, 336,000 people are diagnosed as legally blind or partially sighted.
To get the discount, applicants will need to prove to TV Licensing that they are in fact legally blind.
Individuals can provide evidence to the licensing fee body in several ways to qualify for this grant.
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This includes presenting documents such as a Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI) or BD8 certificate.
In addition to this, applicants can show TV Licensing a copy of a certificate from an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) confirming their blindness.
Alternatively, it is possible to use a certificate from a local authority as documentary evidence to qualify for the discount.
It should be noted that only those registered as legally blind will be able to obtain the 50% concession.
Once someone has shown TV Licensing any of the proofs listed above, they won’t need to show it again.
Those who want to take advantage of the 50% license fee discount can go to the TV Licensing website to download a form.
Apart from the blind discount, the government has also set other concessions for certain vulnerable groups.
This includes a free television license for those over 75 who receive Pension Credit, a benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
In addition, people with disabilities or over the age of 60 who live in care facilities do not have to pay the fee.
Those eligible for a free TV license who are not currently claiming one can call TV Licensing on 0300 790 6117 for advice on the application process.
Recently, the government announced plans to freeze license fees for two years as it explores other funding options for the BBC.
This means the full price of a TV license will remain at £159 for the foreseeable future, while the fee for eligible blind people will cost £79.50.