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HCS 1: Are You Entitled to Help with Health Costs?



If you have been accepted for NHS treatment and have to pay for any of the items and services listed here of this document, the NHS Low Income Scheme may be able to help you with the cost. If you have capital which is over the capital limits as shown on the Low Income Scheme claim form HC1, you cannot claim any help through this scheme.

If you have a partner, their property, savings and any other money is counted with yours.

If a dependent child under 16 has to go to hospital for NHS treatment, you can claim help with their travel costs; it's your income that counts.

If you would like to find out if the scheme can help you, pick up an HC1 form (claim for help with health costs) from a Jobcentre Plus office or NHS hospital. Your dentist or optician may have copies too or ring: 0845 850 1166 to get a copy by post.

You can fill in a special short claim form, the HC1( SC) if one of the following applies to you:

  • you live permanently in a care home and the local authority helps you with the cost;


  • you are supported by the local authority because you are aged 16 or 17 and recently left local authority care.

Ask your home manager/local authority/care worker for an HC1( SC) claim form. Otherwise, use the normal form, the HC1.

If you are aged 16 or over you can make your own claim on an HC1, but you needn't do this if you count as a dependant of someone who is getting an eligible benefit or credit (read here).

Fill in the HC1 or HC1( SC) and send it off in the envelope that comes with it. The claim form tells you what to do and may ask you to send in evidence of your income.

If you have any queries about how to fill in these forms, or what to send, you can call Patient Services of the Business Services Authority on 0845 850 1166, or write to the:

Business Services Authority
Patient Services,
Sandyford House,
Archbold Terrace,
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE2 1DB.

Patient Services uses the information you have supplied to work out how much help you might get towards your health costs. The HC1 tells you more about this and explains what counts as income.

NHS Low Income Scheme Certificates

If you qualify for help you will be sent an NHS certificate HC2 which entitles you to full help or an NHS certificate HC3 which entitles you to partial help with health costs. The certificate will tell you who gets help and how long it lasts.

If you need help urgently with any health costs while you are waiting for Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Pension Credit or tax credits to be awarded, make a separate claim on a Low Income Scheme form HC1. Don't wait for your benefit or credit claim to be settled. But if you have a tax credit award notice, read here to see if you can get help without making a low income claim.

If you need emergency NHS dental treatment, or don't want to delay your NHS treatment or wait for your glasses or contact lenses to be repaired or replaced (but read pages 25, 26, 33 and 34 first) you may need to pay and claim a refund later.

If you want to claim a refund of any health cost - read 'HOW TO CLAIM A REFUND'.

People seeking asylum who are supported by the National Asylum Support Services will be sent an NHS Charges Certificate ( HC2) for full help along with their first support payment. Also, read 'PEOPLE FROM ABROAD'.