Therese Coffey outlines the benefits of Pension Credit scheme
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For millions of Britons, glasses or contact lenses are an unavoidable cost, with people regularly forking out hundreds of pounds for new prescriptions. Pensioners may be able to alleviate some of the expense through glasses vouchers and free eye tests.
People who receive the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit are automatically entitled to help with the cost of their glasses.
The Pension Credit recipient and their partner, if they have one, are eligible to receive a voucher which will help towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses.
Britons who have a low income and savings, along with their partner, may also qualify for help towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses via the NHS Low Income scheme.
Anyone who is on a low income and has capital of less than £16,000 can apply for the scheme, and get help towards paying for their opticians fees.
For people who live in a care home permanently, the capital threshold is higher, at £23,250.
The scheme also offers support for other medical fees such as prescription and dental costs.
If someone is already receiving Pension Credit, it will not be necessary to apply for the NHS Low Income scheme as they should already be receiving financial support for their glasses or contact lenses.
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Another potential way of lowering the cost of glasses is to check with individual opticians to see if they offer any price reductions for over 60s.
People who receive Universal Credit and meet certain other criteria may also be eligible for help with health costs, but pensioners are not usually eligible to get Universal Credit due to the presence of Pension Credit as an alternative for state pension age Britons.
New glasses or contact lenses can cost hundreds of pounds, so it is worth exploring all avenues to potentially reduce the cost and save some money.
Free eye tests
Older people can get their eyes tested for free, and they do not need to have reached state pension age.
Anyone aged 60 and over can get a free eye test every two years.
Two years is the recommended time frame for how often people should get their eyes tested, so this free service can help older people regularly ensure their eyes are in good health.
The cost of an eye test can be around £20-25, but if the test shows someone needs new glasses, they will end up paying quite a bit more for their new prescription.
It is worth noting that people who have a close family member who has been diagnosed with glaucoma get a free annual eye test, regardless of their age.
Those who have been advised by an ophthalmologist that they are at risk of glaucoma can also get a free test every year.
Free annual eye tests are also available to people of any age who have diabetes.
People with diabetes should also be offered an additional annual eye test to check for signs of diabetic retinopathy.
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