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What support is available?

You may be entitled to savings on health and care costs if you are on a low income, or receiving certain benefits or tax credits. 

What is available in terms of support will differ according to where you are based in the UK.

Frequently asked questions


Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland 

The NHS is structured differently in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. To find out more about help with health costs in each nation, click the relevant button below. 

Scotland     Wales     Northern Ireland.  


In England, you can receive a range of free NHS health support if you receive any of the following: 

  • Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (not contribution based) 
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit 
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Universal Credit 

If you receive Working Tax Credits, you may be eligible for an NHS tax credit exemption certificate, which entitles you to full help with NHS health costs. 


If you do not receive one of the qualifying benefits listed under ‘Can I get help with NHS costs?’ but have a low income, you may be able to get ‘full’ or ‘partial’ help towards NHS health costs through the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS). You can apply for the scheme if your savings, investments or property (not counting the place where you live) do not exceed the capital limit. 

In England, this is: 

  • £23,250 for people who live permanently in a care home 
  • £16,000 for everyone else.

More details about this are available on the NHS website. 

Depending on your individual circumstances, you will either receive 'full help' (through an HC2 certificate) or 'partial help' (through an HC3 certificate). To apply for an HC2 certificate, you should complete an HC1 form, which is available from Jobcentre Plus offices and most NHS hospitals. You can also get an HC1 form by calling 0845 610 1112. 

If you need an assistance in making your claim or have questions about the LIS, you can contact one of their advisers on 0300 330 1343. 


Help with NHS health costs can include: 

If you are aged 60 and over, then you can get free prescriptions and NHS eye tests regardless of your income. 

The healthcare systems are different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Click on the relevant button below to find out more. 

Scotland, WalesNorthern Ireland 


See our web guidance and our ‘Coming out of hospital’ factsheet – we have versions available for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (Wales released soon). 


We have a section on our site devoted to health and wellbeing for carers. We recognise that caring demands can take their toll, especially for those who care around the clock. It’s important not to neglect your own health while caring for others. 

You may also be able to get some support to focus on your wellbeing by arranging a carer's assessment – this will help to identify areas where you need help to look after your own needs too. See our section on 'Having a carer's assessment'.


A medical exemption certificate could enable a person to receive free NHS prescriptions if they have a particular condition or need support from someone to be able to go out because of a physical condition or disability.

If you think this applies to your circumstances, you could speak to your doctor and request an application form. You can find out more about the criteria and how to apply here:


red corded telephone on a pale background

Need more support?

Contact our Helpline for more information and guidance.

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