Universal Credit: Britons could get free prescriptions if they claim

Martin Lewis offers advice on NHS prescriptions

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Due to the exponential rise in the cost of living, with energy bills and inflation soaring, many benefit claimants will be looking for ways to reduce their spending by accessing further support, such as free NHS prescriptions. To qualify for free prescriptions, claimants must get Universal Credit and either had no earnings or had net earnings of £435 or less in their last assessment period.


If a person has the responsibility for a child then their net earnings can be less than £935.

If a person is part of a couple, the net earning threshold applies to the combined net earnings.

On the Government website, it states that Britons are also entitled to free prescriptions if they, or their partner receive, or they’re under the age of 20 and the dependent of someone receiving:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • This includes those in civil partnerships.

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According to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) people are entitled to free NHS prescriptions if the annual family income used to work out tax credits is £15,276 or less.

They will also be eligible if they claim Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit paid together, or Working Tax Credit including a disability element.

In order to claim free prescriptions, applicants should show a copy of their Universal Credit award notice in order to prove their benefit claimant status.

As well as this, applicants will have to prove they have met the eligibility criteria in the last completed Universal Credit assessment period.

The NHS Business Services Authority has an online eligibility checker for anyone who is interested in seeing whether they can claim free prescriptions.

People on a low income may be able to receive financial help through the NHS Low Income Support Scheme.

If eligible, a person would receive an HC2 certificate which will give free prescriptions, free NHS dental treatment, and free NHS eye tests.

It will also give help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses, help with travelling to receive NHS treatment and free NHS wigs and fabric support.

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To apply for an HC2 certificate, people need to complete form HC1, which is available from Jobcentre Plus offices or most NHS hospitals.

People might also be able to get an HC1 form from their doctor, dentist or optician.

HC1 forms can be requested by calling 0300 123 0849.

The prescription cost in England is currently £9.35 per item.

This can all add up if people are claiming many prescriptions each month.

However, residents in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not have to pay any fee for their medication as prescriptions are free in these countries.

People over the age of 60 years and under the age of 16 years are eligible for free NHS prescriptions.

People who hold a maternity exemption ticket (MatEx) or a medical exemption certificate (MedEx) are also eligible.

Medical exemption certificates are only given to those who have a specific health condition that meets the NHS’s qualifying criteria for additional support.

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