What is it?
The Low Income Scheme provides income related help to people who are not exempt from charges but who may be entitled to full or partial help if they have a low income.
The NHS Low Income Scheme covers:
NHS dental treatment
Sight tests, glasses and contact lenses
Travel to receive NHS treatment
NHS wigs and fabric supports
The scheme is designed so that you can claim for a certificate before you need any treatment and are able to budget accordingly.
However, if you’ve already paid for something, you can apply for a refund at the same time you apply for a certificate.
Can I get it?
People aged 60 or over living in England get free NHS prescriptions.
People aged 60 or over living in Wales You get free NHS dental examinations carried out in Wales.
People of all ages in Northern Ireland and Scotalnd get free NHS prescriptions.
You can get help though the NHS low income scheme if you are claiming Pension Credit including the Guarantee Credit element. If you are under 60 and your partner qualifies then you can also claim.
Anyone can apply as long as they don’t have savings or investments over the capital limit.
The capital limit is:
£23,250 for those permanently in a care home (£24,000 in Wales)
£16,000 for everyone else
For all other potential claimants help is based on a comparison between your weekly income and assessed requirements at the time the claim is made (or the date the charge was paid if a refund is claimed).
Entitlement broadly follows Income Support rules to decide how much, if anything, you have to pay towards your health costs. The scheme also allows us to include your council tax and housing costs in the assessment. This means you can get help with your health costs even if your income is too high for Income Support.
How do I claim?
To find out if the NHS Low Income Scheme can help you, fill in an HC1 form (claim for help with health costs) HC11 in Northern Ireland
You do not need to fill in an HC1 if you, or your partner if you have one, are:
getting Income Support
getting income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
getting income-related Employment and Support Allowance
getting Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
named on, or entitled to, an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate
as the benefit or tax credits you or your partner gets already entitles you to full help with health costs.
More information on the NHS low income scheme is available via the NHS costs helpline 0845 850 1166 or the NHS website or for Northern Ireland the NIdirect website.