An extra 500,000 elderly people are to receive subsidised television licences later this year.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is to extend concessionary TV licences when it brings in the £3 licence increase to pay for BBC digital services. The move will benefit pensioners living in sheltered accommodation.
Under existing rules, if a man aged under 65 lives in sheltered housing, not only does he fail to qualify for a £5 concessionary licence, but all other residents in the accommodation are disqualified. Ministers plan to change the scheme to make all those in sheltered accommodation eligible.
A DCMS source said: "As people get older and often become less mobile, television becomes more and more important as a source of information and entertainment. That's why we are introducing free licences for the over 75s and ensuring that people currently entitled to a concessionary licence don't lose out."
Help The Aged warned: "Concessions are seen by many people as hand-outs. We would prefer that older people had a higher state pension so they could have a choice about how to spend their money."