You may be fully exempt from all health charges, but if not, you could still be entitled to help with; NHS prescriptions, NHS dental treatment, sight tests, glasses and contact lenses, travel to receive NHS treatment, NHS wigs and fabric supports.
You will automatically be entitled to full help with health costs (and will not need to apply under the NHS low income scheme - below) if you or your partner receive:
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
Universal Credit - if your earnings during your last complete assessment period were £435 or less, or £935 or less if you had a child element or had limited capability for work
You will also be entitled to full help if you are named on, or entitled to, an NHS tax credit exemption certificate. If you have any dependant children under the age of 20 and they are named on your benefit or tax credit claim, they will also qualify for the same help as you.
The NHS low income scheme
You may be eligible for help under the NHS low income scheme, if you are, you will qualify for an HC2 certificate (enabling full help with health costs) or an HC3 certificate (enabling limited help). Also if you are entitled and you have already paid for your prescriptions, treatment etc… you may be able to claim a refund using form HC5.
Eligibility and assessment
You won’t be eligible for help if you or your partner (or both) have more than:
£16,000 in savings, investments or property (this does not include the place where you live)
£23,250 in savings, investments or property if you live permanently in a care home (£24,000 if you live in Wales)
Your eligibility for the scheme will be assessed on your weekly income (including any savings or investments you have at the time you claim) and essential expenditure, which will include your council tax and housing costs. Therefore, even if your income is too high for Income Support, you might still get help through the NHS Low Income Scheme. Income will also be taken into account from anyone who lives in your household, except for any children or dependent young people.
Making an application
You will need to complete form HC1 which can be downloaded online (as well as form HC5 - applying for a refund) or you can request a copy is sent to you. Visit www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/nhs-low-income-scheme or telephone the NHS low income scheme on 0300 330 1343. Their website also has appropriate links if you are applying in Scotland or Wales. If you live in Northern Ireland visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/help-health-costs
If you are over 60 - Some people can now apply online for the Scheme. If you don't live with a partner and your only income is from a pension, you might be able to apply online.