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Can you claim free NHS prescriptions?
Can you claim free NHS prescriptions?

Not everyone can claim free NHS prescriptions in England.

Chantal avatar
Written by Chantal
Updated over a week ago

What entitles you to free NHS prescriptions?

Checks are made on free NHS prescriptions to prevent and detect fraud and error. If you claim free prescriptions you’re not entitled to, you could have to pay a penalty charge of up to £100. Check if you’re eligible at www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/check


Your age

You’re entitled to free NHS prescriptions if you’re:

• under 16

• 16, 17, or 18 and in full-time education

• 60 or over

Students aged 19 and over aren’t automatically entitled to free NHS prescriptions, but can apply for help through the NHS Low Income Scheme.


Certain benefits

Not all benefits entitle you to free NHS prescriptions. Check which type of benefit you get before you claim free prescriptions.

You’re entitled to free NHS prescriptions if you are named on an award for:

• lncome Support

income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

income-related Employment and Support Allowance

• Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit) paid on its own, or Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit with Savings Credit)

• certain Tax Credits

• Universal Credit - but only if earnings in your last assessment period were £435 or less, or £935 or less if you get an element for a child or have limited capability for work

You’re not automatically entitled to free NHS prescriptions if you are named on an award for:

contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, paid on its own

contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance, paid on its own

• Pension Credit (Savings Credit), paid on its own

• any benefit paid on its own and not listed in the previous section (such as State Pension, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or lncapacity Benefit)


Certificates

You’re entitled to free NHS prescriptions if you have one of these certificates.

NHS maternity exemption certificate

lf you’re pregnant or have given birth in the last 12 months you can claim free NHS prescriptions if you have a valid maternity exemption certificate. Ask your doctor, midwife or health visitor to apply.

NHS medical exemption certificate

lf you have a medical condition or physical disability, you are only entitled to free NHS prescriptions if you have a valid medical exemption certificate. Check the medical conditions list at www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/medex or check with your doctor. If you’re eligible for a medical exemption certificate, ask your doctor how to apply.

NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate

You will automatically be sent this certificate if your annual family income used to work out your tax credits is £15,276 or less and you get:

• Child Tax Credit

• Working Tax Credit including a disability element

• Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit paid together

Your partner and any young people included in your claim will be entitled to free prescriptions while your certificate is valid. For more information, go to: www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/taxcredits

HC2 certificate (full help with health costs)

If you’re not automatically eligible for free NHS prescriptions, you can apply for help through the NHS Low Income Scheme. If you have applied and been issued with an HC2 certificate you are entitled to free NHS prescriptions. Your partner and any dependant children under 19 named on your claim will also be entitled to free NHS prescriptions while the certificate is valid. Make sure you know the expiry date of the certificate. An HC3 certificate (partial help with health costs) does not entitle you to free NHS prescriptions. Find out more and how to apply at www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/lowincomescheme

War pensioners

If you have a valid War Pension or Armed Forces Compensation Scheme exemption certificate or a prescription exemption certificate issued by the Ministry of Defence, you are entitled to free NHS prescriptions that relate to your accepted disability.

To apply for a certificate, contact Veterans UK:

Call: 0808 1914 218

NHS Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC)

If you pay for your NHS prescriptions, you could save money by buying a 3 or 12 month PPC. A PPC covers all your NHS prescriptions for a set price. If you have a valid 3 or 12 month PPC you can claim free NHS prescriptions. For more information or to buy a PPC go to www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/ppc

NHS Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) PPC

If you pay for NHS prescriptions for HRT, you could save money by buying an HRT PPC. An HRT PPC covers an unlimited number of listed HRT medicines for 12 months. If you have a valid HRT PPC you can claim free HRT prescriptions that are covered by the certificate. For more information or to buy an HRT PPC go to www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/hrt-ppc

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