Help with health costs (HCS1): information booklet - August 2021
Information booklet (HCS1) providing advice on what help a person may be entitled to for NHS charges.
Pregnant Women or Women Who Have Had a Baby in the Previous 12 Months
You get free:
- NHS dental treatment if, when you are accepted for a course of treatment, you have a valid maternity exemption certificate issued by Practitioner Services Division of NHS National Services Scotland.
To apply for your maternity exemption certificate ask your doctor, midwife or health visitor for form FW8. The form tells you what to do.
People Registered Blind or Partially Sighted
If you need help with health costs, check if you are in one of the groups listed on Age groups, Income groups and Other groups.
People Who Have Lost or Damaged Their Glasses or Contact Lenses
If you are under 16 you can get a voucher towards the cost of repair or replacement.
If you are 16 or over you may be entitled to a voucher towards the cost of repair or replacement if Practitioner Services, Division of NHS National Services Scotland, agrees that:
- the loss or damage was due to illness or disability; and
- you can’t get any help through a warranty, insurance or after sales service; and
- you would be entitled to an NHS voucher for glasses or contact lenses – read Further Advice.
People With Impaired Hearing
You can get free, on loan, NHS hearing aids.
The aids will be supplied with batteries (and replacements) and fitted, serviced and maintained free of charge.
If you want to know more, please ask your GP.
People Who Live In a Care Home
These were previously called residential care or nursing homes. Living in a care home does not automatically entitle you to help. But you may be entitled to help if:
- you are under 60 and getting Income Support, or Income-related Employment and Support Allowance – read Income groups;
- you are 60 or over and getting Pension Credit Guarantee credit – read Income groups;
- otherwise check to see if you can get help via the NHS Low Income Scheme – read Income groups.
Young People Supported By a Local Authority After Leaving Care
If you are aged 16 or 17 and supported by a local authority because you recently left local authority care, you are entitled to full help with health costs through the NHS Low Income Scheme – read Income groups.
If you are not supported by a local authority and you are not getting Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, you may still be able to get help through the Low Income Scheme – read pages 20-22. Also check if you are in any of the groups on Age groups, Income groups and Other groups.
NHS hospital In-Patients
You get free:
- NHS treatment;
- wigs and fabric supports supplied while in hospital (including spinal or abdominal supports and surgical brassieres);
- glasses or contact lenses supplied through the hospital eye department (you must choose the cheapest glasses frame available. If you choose a more expensive one, except for medical reasons, you will have to pay the difference);
- medication to take home with you when you leave hospital.
If you ask a dentist or optician to visit you in hospital, you will have to pay the cost in the normal way, as if you were being treated at their practice. Read Age groups, Income groups and Other groups to see if you are in a group that can get free NHS dental treatment or an NHS Optical voucher towards your glasses.
NHS Hospital Dental Service Patients
NHS dental treatment carried out at the hospital is free, but there may be a charge for dentures and bridges unless you are entitled to free NHS dental treatment.
NHS Hospital Eye Department Patients
Eye examinations are free to Hospital Eye Service (HES) patients.
If your consultant decides that for clinical reasons you need frequent changes of glasses or contact lenses you will only have to pay for the first pair. You may also get help towards the first pair if you are in one of the groups entitled to a voucher – read NHS Optical Vouchers.
People Who Travel to Hospital for NHS Treatment
You may be entitled to help with necessary travelling costs to and from hospital for NHS treatment. This includes check-ups and visits to clinics for treatment of sexually transmissible infections.
You can get help:
- if you are getting benefits or credits – read pages 14-19;
- if you have a low income – read pages 20-22;
- for your companion if you qualify for help and, for medical reasons, you need a companion to travel with you. Their travel costs are added to your travel costs and it’s your income that counts;
- if you are 16 or over but under 20 and are counted as a dependant of someone getting help on the basis of the benefits/credits listed on pages 14-19, or through the NHS Low Income Scheme – see pages 20-22. Otherwise you can make your own claim, even if you live with your parents – read page 13.
Note: If a child under 16 is the patient, it is their parents’ income that counts. If someone else takes them to hospital, it is still the parents’ income that counts.
If you are not sure what travel costs you can get help with, ask the hospital before you travel.
People Living in the Council Areas of Highland, Argyll & Bute, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland
You get help with the cost of travel to hospital for NHS treatment, provided you have to travel at least 30 miles (48km), or more than 5 miles (8km) by sea, to get to hospital.
There is a set maximum you have to pay unless you get free travel, or help with the costs. Leaflet HCS2 tells you how much this is.
You may be able to get money back for NHS dental treatment, hospital travel costs, glasses or contact lenses if the treatment, or the reason for travel, is for your pensionable disablement. Write to:
The Treatment Group, Veterans Agency, Norcross, Blackpool FY5 3WP. Otherwise, check if you are in any of the groups listed on Age groups, Income groups and Other groups.
People From Abroad
People who come from abroad and are accepted as ordinarily resident in the UK (including asylum seekers who have been given leave to remain in the UK and people accepted as coming to work or study in the UK) and who are accepted for NHS treatment, may claim help with health costs in the same way as other residents.
Check to see if you are in one of the groups listed on Age groups, Income groups and Other groups otherwise, you can make a claim under the NHS Low Income Scheme - read Income groups.
Being in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits does not entitle you to NHS treatment. It only helps with the cost if you are given NHS treatment.
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.
People seeking asylum who are not supported, or are failed asylum seekers, may be entitled to help with health costs because of their age.Otherwise, they may be eligible for one of the qualifying benefits or may claim under the NHS Low Income Scheme – see Income groups.
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