Universal Credit – check to see if you’re entitled to free NHS healthcare: GettyImages-1166396611 (commuter bus)

08 Sep 2020

Universal Credit – check to see if you’re entitled to free NHS healthcare

People claiming Universal Credit are being encouraged to check if they’re eligible for free NHS treatment.

Universal Credit claims have increased significantly since the outbreak of COVID-19, with statistics showing that nearly one million people who started on Universal Credit in the first month of lockdown are still claiming the benefit.

If you’re claiming Universal Credit, the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) is making it easier for you to find out what additional NHS support you’re entitled to.

The online eligibility checker, available at www.nhs.uk/checkbeforeyoutick, tells you within minutes if you’re eligible for free NHS prescriptions, NHS dental treatment and help with other NHS costs.

Brendan Brown, director of Citizen Services at the NHSBSA, said: “There’s an assumption that everyone claiming Universal Credit is automatically entitled to free prescriptions and dental treatment – but this is a mistaken belief. People are only entitled if their earnings are within the threshold.

“With so many people claiming Universal Credit for the first time ever, we’re here to help people understand if they are entitled to free healthcare and how to claim correctly.”

People claiming Universal Credit qualify for free prescriptions and dental treatment if their earnings during their last assessment period (also known as take home pay) were £435 or less, or £935 or less if their Universal Credit includes a payment for a child or they have limited capability for work or work-related activity.

Universal Credit claimants whose working hours and income vary each month may drop in and out of eligibility, which is why it’s important to use the online checker regularly.

In January 2020, new FP10 prescription forms were introduced which included a new exemption tick box ‘U’, for patients who receive Universal Credit and meet the criteria for free NHS prescriptions. Some pharmacies will still be using the old FP10 form until stocks of it run out. In this case, people eligible for free prescriptions claiming Universal Credit should tick box K (income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance).

Other financial support may be available for people whose earnings are over the threshold, such as the NHS Low Income Scheme or by purchasing a Prescription Pre-payment Certificate (PPC).

A PPC covers the cost of all NHS prescriptions, including NHS dental prescriptions, regardless of how many you need. 

Find out what you could be entitled to at www.nhs.uk/checkbeforeyoutick

Contact Information

Katy Edgar

katy.edgar@nhs.net

Notes to editors

Information about Universal Credit

Universal Credit data from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-statistics-29-april-2013-to-9-july-2020/universal-credit-statistics-29-april-2013-to-9-july-2020

About the NHS Business Services Authority

The NHS Business Services Authority is an arm’s length body of the Department of Health and Social Care which provides a range of critical central services to NHS organisations, NHS contractors, patients and the public. Its purpose is to be a catalyst for better health and its vision is to be the delivery partner of choice for the NHS. For more information about the NHSBSA, please visit www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk.