THE concessionary bus pass is not a universal benefit in the respect that on reaching the qualifying age one has to apply for it (Letters, January 8).

Assuming that the 50% of Scottish pensioners who only have the state pension as income will almost all apply for it, the benefit will be self means-tested in the extent to which the other half don't apply or, if they do, use it sparingly.

The contrast with the winter fuel allowance is remarkable.

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In this case the benefit is paid automatically and directly into one's bank account on reaching the appropriate age, whether the recipient needs it or not.

It is difficult not to feel that those who run these services could introduce the more sensible features of the former method of benefit take-up into the latter.

Ken Nicholson,

3 Letham Court,