Get help with healthcare costs with the NHS Low Income Scheme | Personal finance | Finance

Fortunately, low-income people can get help paying for prescriptions, dental fees, and other essential health care. The NHS Low Income Scheme provides help with a person’s expenses, based on their weekly income and expenses, as well as any savings and investments.

The NHS Low Income Scheme provides help with a person’s expenses, based on their weekly income and expenses, as well as any savings and investments.

The scheme can help cover the costs of eye tests, glasses and contact lenses, travel to get NHS treatment and NHS wigs and cloth supports.

A beneficiary’s partner can also get help through the scheme, with reimbursements available for previous treatment that might have been covered.

Refunds must be claimed within three months of the date the fee was paid or the date of the eye exam.

A claimant should ask their pharmacist, hospital or doctor for an NHS FP57 receipt form when paying – this cannot be obtained later.

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For other reimbursements, an HC5 form must be completed and returned, depending on the country in which the person lives.

Applications are assessed within 18 business days of receipt.

Anyone can apply as long as they or their partner do not have savings or investments of more than £16,000, not including their home.

Those living permanently in a care home have an upper limit of £23,250, or £24,000 for residents of Wales.

Those who already qualify for health care assistance do not need to apply for it.


Full help is also available for those named or entitled to an NHS tax credit exemption certificate.

Any dependent child under the age of 20 included in a benefit or tax credit application is also entitled to the same assistance.

When calculating the amount, a person’s weekly needs are compared to their weekly income, to see how much is needed to cover their healthcare costs.

Weekly needs are a personal allowance intended to reflect a person’s daily expenses, as well as housing costs such as council tax, rent or mortgage.

Full assistance is granted when a person’s income is less than or equal to their basic needs.

Claimants can also get full support if their income is above their needs, at up to half the current cost of a prescription in England.

Applicants will need to complete an HC1 form and return it

Employed persons will need to submit proof of income in their HC1 application.

Freelancers will have to send their profit and loss accounts for at least six months.

Alternatively, they can send a trading account showing the company’s income and expenses.

Students will need to include proof of all grants, scholarships and awards they have received.

Applicants who are concerned that their application has been assessed incorrectly can contact 0300 330 1343 and request that their application be considered.

A request can also be sent to nhsbsa.low [email protected]

Completed HC1 forms should be sent to:

NHS Low Income Scheme

NHS Business Services Authority

bridge house

152 Pilgrim Street



A new service is being tested for online applications, for people with capital or savings of over £6,000.

People who can apply this way include retirees, students, people earning a salary, receiving state benefits, or living in a nursing home.

People who already have an HC2 or HC3 certificate through the NHS Low Income Scheme and wish to renew it will still need to complete an HC1 form.