Help with NHS costs

People affected by dementia receiving certain benefits may also be eligible for help with NHS costs. Find out what you may be entitled to.

There are a number of schemes that may enable you to reduce your medical costs. You can buy a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) which allows you to buy several prescriptions for a set price. This is available to anyone who prepays and is not means-tested. You can buy a prescription prepayment online or by phone – see the NHS website.

NHS benefits

Full help with health costs is available if you or your partner get:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s allowance
  • income-related Employment and support allowance
  • Pension credit guarantee
  • Universal Credit (under certain circumstances).

You’re also entitled to full help if you are named on, or entitled to, an NHS tax credit exemption certificate.

Any dependent children under 20 included on your benefit or tax credit claim are also entitled to the same help.

If you receive these benefits you may be eligible for:

  • free prescriptions (prescriptions are also free for anyone aged 60 and over)
  • free dental treatment from NHS dentists
  • free sight tests and vouchers towards the cost of glasses – sight tests are also free for anyone aged 60 and over
  • help with hospital travel costs for NHS treatment and free appliances for outpatients or day patients.

NHS hearing aids are prescribed by an NHS consultant to anyone needing them on free loan. They are fitted, serviced and supplied with batteries free of charge.

NHS low income scheme

If you do not receive any of the above benefits but are on a low income and have savings below the limit, you can apply for help towards NHS health costs that are usually paid for such as dentist or optician services. The amount of financial help you receive will depend on your savings and income. You may qualify if you are on a low income and have less than:

  • £16,000 in savings, investments or property (not including 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).

To apply, complete form HC1, which you can get from Jobcentre Plus offices and NHS hospitals. Some GPs, dentists and opticians may also have them. If you live in a care home you can apply on a special short form called HC1 (SC). Ask the care home manager or a carer for this form or use the HC1 form.

For more information on help with NHS costs, see the Department of Health and Social Care booklet HC11 Help with health costs, available from any of the above sources, or search for ‘HC11’ on the NHS website.

Changes in where a person is cared for

If you’re claiming benefits, they may be affected if you need to go into hospital or a care home.

Benefits in hospital

If either a carer or a person with dementia goes into an NHS hospital for more than a short stay, the benefits that either of them receives may be affected. These may include Personal independence payment, Disability living allowance, Attendance allowance and Employment and support allowance. If you receive Carer’s allowance this may also be affected if the person being cared for goes into hospital.

If you go into hospital it is important to inform the Jobcentre Plus office, Pension Centre or DWP Disability Service Centre (depending on the benefits you receive).

Benefits in a care home

If someone moves to a care home some of their benefits may be affected, especially if their stay is permanent.

Certain benefits must not be taken into account in the financial assessment to decide how the care will be paid for and you may continue to receive them. These include the mobility part of DLA or PIP.

If you’re fully self-funding, you will still be entitled to some benefits such as AA, DLA (care component) or PIP (daily living component).

If the care home placement is funded by NHS Continuing healthcare (CHC) you are treated as if you are in a hospital and benefits are affected but all of the care costs are funded by the NHS. For more information see our booklet, When does the NHS pay for care?

For information on benefits for people living in a care home see Paying for care and support in England or Paying for care and support in Wales.

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