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Recent Government changes to the state pension age will have a direct impact on local residents' eligibility for free bus passes. From 6 April 2010, the government is gradually changing the eligibility to apply for a free English National Bus Pass. This is in line with their changes to the state pension age for women, increasing from 60 to 65. The rise will be staged over the next ten years. Eligibility for bus passes will rise by two months each month.

This means that residents who turn 60 on or after 6 April 2010, will no longer be eligible for the scheme on their 60th birthday. Details on when they will now qualify are shown in a table in the attached word document.

Councillor Melva Bateman, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Development at Chichester District Council, says: "The government have decided that this would be the fairest method, rather than introduce a one-off rise which would leave those currently close to retirement age facing a full five-year delay."

"However, the changes will have an impact on those residents in the district who are approaching their sixtieth birthday and were expecting to qualify for a bus pass. Current holders over 60 years old, and other qualifying residents, will not be affected by these changes. Current pass holders will be eligible for a renewal pass when their pass expires."

A calculator of eligibility for pension and bus passes for all birth dates is available on the DirectGov website

However, the Department for Transport advise that when using this calculator for assessing bus pass eligibility alone, that all residents chose the option 'female'. This is because technical differences in the state pension provision for males are not fully reflected in bus pass eligibility.