Campaigners tonight intensified their fight to save free TV licences for the over-75s.
The BBC is due to decide whether to press ahead with imposing restrictions on August 1 – the revised date for launching means-testing.
Curbs on entitlement to the universal benefit were due to come into force on June 1 but were delayed by two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Some 3.7 million over-75s who are not eligible for Pension Credit are due to lose free licences in less than four weeks.
The deadline has renewed calls for the Government to honour its promise to maintain the benefit.
Labour peer Lord Foulkes, who chairs Parliament’s cross-party group for ageing and older people, will raise the looming raid on pensioners in the House of Lords on Monday.
He said: “With less than one month to go until the August 1 deadline, the clock really is ticking for the BBC to announce a decision on TV licences for over-75s.
“Each day this is delayed means another day of despair and anxiety for thousands of lonely older people living alone.
“However, rather than focusing on the already cash-strapped BBC, the spotlight should ultimately be on the Government.
“After all, it was their party that promised to keep free TV licences for over-75s and provide older people with the security and dignity they deserve.
“Therefore, this decision is not just a test of the Government’s compassion but of their honesty too.
“My question on Monday will give them another opportunity to show whether they truly care.”
The Conservatives pledged at the 2017 election to protect the benefit for the rest of that Parliament, which was due to run until 2022.
But the BBC had already been handed responsibility for funding the lifeline from June 2020, under a deal agreed in 2015.
It says keeping licences free for all over-75s would cost £745million by 2021-22.
The Mirror is campaigning to save the benefit, with more than 18,000 readers backing the fight by completing coupons in the paper.
Silver Voices director Dennis Reed said: “Time is running out for the BBC and the Government to review their positions on the ending of free licences, as the August 1 implementation date fast approaches.
“Older people have suffered the most during the pandemic but the TV has proved an essential tool to get them through the loneliness of shielding and self-isolation.
“It would be heartbreaking for millions if letters now landed on their doormats asking for payment of TV licences which had previously been free.”
Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said “The BBC Board’s decision to delay roll out of their planned scheme was very welcome but it is becoming more obvious with every day that the initial delay was not nearly long enough, especially with August 1 now less than a month away.
“For over a million of the oldest people in our country, television is their main form of company and more important than ever as their window on the world, as many remain in lockdown.
“Older people have more than enough to worry about at the moment without fretting about getting to grips with a new approach to TV licences and, for considerable numbers, the need to find the cash to pay another big annual bill they can ill afford.”
Bectu broadcasting union chief Philippa Childs said: “The BBC has already made the very difficult, but humane, decision to delay collecting the licence fee for over-75s because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“However, it can’t carry that burden a moment longer than necessary and it will be forced to start collecting it from those who aren’t entitled to Pension Credit.
“There is an alternative and one that we have consistently campaigned for, the Government can take back the responsibility for the policy and funding of over 75’s free licences.”
A BBC spokeswoman said this week: “The Government decided to end the free TV licence for the over-75s and gave the BBC Board responsibility to decide on its future.
“We consulted with the public and reached the fairest decision possible, to support the poorest oldest pensioners.
“We delayed the introduction of the new scheme until August as a result of the pandemic, and we are keeping that decision under review.
“During lockdown the BBC has played an important role informing, educating and entertaining all our audiences, including older people.
“The Board will announce its decision this month.”
Boris Johnson has previously urged the BBC to “cough up” and save free licences.