Low income scheme

This is a means-tested scheme that’s available in England, Scotland and Wales. It is for people who do not get free healthcare costs, but who may be entitled to full or partial help if they have a low income.

The scheme includes help with:

  • NHS prescriptions
  • NHS dental treatment
  • NHS wigs and fabric supports
  • sight tests, glasses and contact lenses
  • travel to receive NHS treatment.

To qualify, there's a savings limit of £16,000. If you live in a care home, the savings limit is £23,250 in England and Scotland, and £24,000 in Wales.

How to claim

Phone 0845 850 1166 and ask for form HC1, or visit nhsbsa.nhs.uk.

You can also get form HC1 from your local Jobcentre Plus or NHS hospital. You may be able to get one from your doctor, dentist or optician.

If you’ve already paid the healthcare costs, you can claim a refund using form HC5 if you apply within three months. You must have the relevant receipt (such as form FP57 for prescriptions). For more information, see the Department of Health leaflet HC11 Help with health costs at nhs.uk/healthcosts.

Aids and equipment

If you need special equipment or aids to help you manage at home (for example a raised toilet seat or hand rails), your GP or specialist nurse can refer you to a social worker to get these for you. Or you can contact your local social services or social work department. They can arrange for a social worker or occupational therapist to assess your needs. Social workers may be able to supply what you need at no cost.

You can also get general advice and information about all types of equipment from the Disabled Living Foundation.

In Northern Ireland

Back to Help with health costs


You may be eligible for free prescriptions if you have cancer. There are also other ways to help with the cost of medications.

Dental treatment

Dental charges vary across the UK. You may qualify for free dental treatment.

Eye treatment and glasses

Some people may be able to get free eye tests. There are certain criteria that qualify you for free eyetests.