NHS Low Income Scheme

This scheme helps people on a low income to afford their health costs. It is run by the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales and by the Health Service (HS) in Northern Ireland.

The scheme includes help with:

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

You cannot qualify if you have more than £16,000 in savings, unless you live permanently in a care home. If you live in a care home, the savings limit is £23,250 in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Wales, the savings limit is £24,000.

How to claim

  • If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, call 0300 330 1343 and ask for an HC1 form, or visit nhsbsa.nhs.uk You can also get an HC1 form from your local NHS hospital or Jobcentre Plus.
  • If you live in Northern Ireland, download the HC1 form from nidirect.gov.uk You can also get an HC1 form from your local Jobs and Benefits or Social Security office.

You may be able to get an HC1 form from your GP, dentist or optician.

If you have already paid the healthcare costs, you can claim a refund using an HC5 form if you apply within three months. You must have the relevant receipt (such as an FP57 form for prescriptions).

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.