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HCS 1: Are you entitled to help with health costs?



  • Working Tax Credit ( WTC)
  • Child Tax Credit ( CTC)

1. If you meet the qualifying conditions (read paragraph 3 below) you will be sent an NHS tax credit exemption certificate by the Business Services Authority ( BSA) Newcastle. They will send you one automatically, you do not need to apply for one - but read paragraph 11 below.

2. If you meet the qualifying conditions you can get free:

  • NHS dental treatment.

You also get:

  • vouchers towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses;
  • vouchers towards the cost of repair of glasses, if under 16, or if over 16 and in accordance with certain conditions ( see here);
  • refunds of necessary travel costs to and from hospital for NHS treatment for you, your partner or any dependent children and young people under 19.

Qualifying Conditions

3. For you to qualify for help with health charges, condition A plus one of the B conditions - B1 or B2 or B3 - must apply to you, as follows:

Condition A: your family income for tax credits is £15,276 or less (this is on your tax credit award notice) and one of the following must also apply:

Condition B1: you are working and have children and you are getting WTC and CTC,


Condition B2: you are working and disabled and you are getting WTC with a disability element - check your award notice,


Condition B3: you are not eligible for WTC but get CTC. This might be because you don't work 16 hours per week, or your income doesn't count as earnings, e.g. because you are a student nurse.

4. HM Revenue & Customs issues tax credit award notices that tell families they might be entitled to other help. Only HM Revenue & Customs can say whether or not you are eligible for WTC or CTC.

5. If you are unsure about the amount of your income for tax credit purposes, you can check this with HM Revenue & Customs Helpline on: 0845 300 3900.

6. For people with hearing or speech difficulties the Helpline number is 0845 300 3909.

7. If you have made a claim but not yet received your tax credit award notice you should contact HM Revenue & Customs (not the Business Service Authority).

If you don't have an old certificate or new tax credit award

8. If you meet the conditions for help, as explained in paragraph 3 below, you are entitled to claim exemption as soon as you get your tax credit award notice. You can sign NHS treatment forms to say you don't have to pay because you get tax credit. If you pay and subsequently find that you qualify for help you can claim a refund on form HC5, available from your dentist or optician, NHS hospital or Jobcentre Plus office. You can only get a receipt at the time you pay the charge.

NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificates

9. Patient Services of the Business Services Authority ( BSA) - an NHS body based in Newcastle - sends out NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificates on behalf of the Health Departments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You don't have to make a separate application for a certificate.

Please expect to wait up to 6 weeks for your certificate after you get your award notice. (Read paragraph 11 below.)

10. HM Revenue & Customs will send information to the BSA each month about families who are entitled to a certificate.

11. The BSA cannot send you an exemption certificate until they receive the information from HM Revenue & Customs. This could be up to 6 weeks after you get your tax credit award.

You can still get free treatment without the exemption certificate - read paragraph 8 above.

If you are still unsure about whether or not you are entitled to an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate, ring the BSA on 0845 609 9299, and have your Tax Credit Award notice ready so you can tell them what is on it.

If you lose your NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate

12. Tell the BSA by writing to the:

Business Services AuthorityExemption Issue Office, PO Box 1011

Newcastle Upon Tyne NE99 2ZP

and let them know what happened. They will send you a duplicate.

If you do not qualify for help through tax credit exemption

13. Tax credit exemption is for people who are working, or are disabled, or who have children.

14. If you do not qualify for help through tax credits you may be able to claim help through the NHS Low Income Scheme - read here.

15. Ring HM Revenue & Customs Helpline for advice about other help that might be available through tax credits. Read paragraphs 4 and 5 above.