The BBC says it may have to cut services unless over-75s start paying the licence fee, as it launched a consultation on the matter.
At the moment, all households with people aged over 75 are entitled to receive a free TV licence which costs £745 million a year and is due to finish in June 2020.
Moneywise reported in October that free TV licences for over-75s could be scrapped.
Now, the corporation has launched a consultation with a number of proposals to compensate for the loss of government funding for the scheme.
The broadcaster has warned that if the BBC renews the scheme this would cost around a fifth of its budget - the equivalent to what it spends on BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, the BBC News Channel, CBBC and CBeebies.
That would mean over-75s would not have to pay, as at present, but the corporation says it would “fundamentally change” the BBC because of the scale of service cuts it would need to make.
One option would be to reinstate the fee for those over 75, but this would particularly hit poorer pensioners and mean they could be prosecuted for failing to pay.
Other proposals include raising the age of a free licence from 75 to 80 or introducing means-testing so that only those that can afford it pay.
Alternatively, a discount of 50% could be offered for older people, although this would still mean a shortfall in funding.
The consultation will run for 12 weeks until 12 February. The BBC says it hopes to make a decision by next summer.
Charity Age UK opposes the change, saying there are “significant practical difficulties and create unfairness for different groups of older people”.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, says: “There are two million people aged 75-plus, one in two of whom is disabled and one in four of whom view the television as their main form of companionship.
"For many others, including those who are chronically lonely - a social problem we are far more aware of than was the case a few years ago - the TV is a precious window on the world.”
She adds: “The BBC took on responsibility for the concession as part of a broader deal with the Government in which they received some significant benefits.
"Now it is their responsibility to appreciate the very significant role that television plays in many older people's lives and the damaging consequences of watering the concession down or removing it from them.”
People aged over 75 currently don’t have to pay the licence fee, saving £150.50 each year.
Free TV licences for the over-75s were introduced by the Labour Chancellor Gordon Brown in 2001.
- Broadband customers could save £150 if they are warned their contract is ending - but they risk hefty fines
However, in 2015 the government announced it would no longer subsidise the cost of the licence fee and the BBC would have to find the funding itself.
Tony Hall, BBC director-general, says: “We have set out a range of options - each has merits and consequences, with implications for the future of the BBC, and for everyone, including older people.
"We need to hear views to help the BBC make the best and fairest decision.”
If you would like to have a say in the consultation, you can do so on the BBC website.
Why don't the BBC get adverts on? Think the BBC very, very greedy. Most of the programmes are repeats and and out of date .Time the BBC went.
Some of what you said is true but I depend on my bus pass cos only one shop near me. I would not be able to afford to go out every day co I'm widow and would go insane if had to stay in every day.I wish to God I was on pension credit cos the ones on it gloat.the wrong people a go never paid in get everything when the ones who pain don't we get a raw deal.I had a friend but not any more since she went on pension credit she is better off thanksgiving me who paid contributions all my life so all that a waste of time for me when lazy ones get what I should be getting.if you went to bingo got a ticket and did not pay an won the prize well is that faith cos pension credit should be scrapped let those on it to no w hat it like to be like me.some days I wish I was dead because I just love to survive .
I am a widow live alone and if I did not have a free bus pass would go insane because I go on most days. Sat alone in my living room is awful and lonely. Wish I was on pension credit they are better of than me. I call them free loaders work shy riff-raff and get free everything when mugs like me who paid contributions to tax and national health stamp all my life. It's not fair... what about me? I paid it for me.
Well, I'm same as you I'm a widow and not on pension credit wish I was cos they don't pay rates and get £302 extra to help with gas an electric as well as free dental care. It's not fair and iworked all our lives... paid his stamp and tax get nothing apart from free prescriptions and bus pass plus the £200 help with fuel and those on pension credit get the£ 200 as well .it's a disgrace when they have not paid in then. bus or tax apart from the few who have not paid enough. We who have paid should at least get free dental care ....it's so wrong and totally unfair
Having to pay for t.v. Licence for over 75 next year
Stop these excessive salaries of so called entertainers Garry lineker etc.. Most of the b.b.c. Is rubbish who in their right mind at 75 plus wants to watching pop music for example or modern day so called
The BBC should be scrapped along with the over-paid staff with fancy cars and mansions. There is not much interesting to watch – most of the time films they put on so old and out of date. All the actors are dead. Who wants to watch films full of dead people when sport is on and they take soaps off – that is not ok. Think the BBC lives in a time warp from the 50s. Guess the ones in charge must be well past it or they have an upstart who thinks it's clever to put rubbish on.
The BBC has a nerve. It deserves to die. It's time it was broken up. They are in breach of the terms of their charter all the time they operate and they are heavily biased towards the far left. They do not broadcast news any more, only progressive propaganda. No money from me. I never tune in to the BBC any more, there is trustworthy news on the Web which is where I always go.
TV licence/Bus Pass
Britain has one of the LOWEST state pensions in Europe, so i think of our TV licence and bus pass as a top up.