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Free prescriptions: All seven groups eligible for free medication on the NHS


The NHS offers free prescriptions to certain groups of people who are eligible. Some groups are automatically entitled to free medication from the NHS, while others will need to apply for certificates that entitle them to free prescriptions.

Benefits

You are automatically entitled to free NHS prescriptions if you receive any of the following benefits:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

In the event you are awarded any of these benefits, your partner and any dependent young people under 20 are also entitled to free NHS prescriptions.

You may be required to show your award notice as proof that you are entitled to free prescriptions.

According to NHSBSA: “If you’re receiving contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance, you are not automatically entitled to free NHS prescriptions.

“However, you could apply for help through the NHS Low Income Scheme.”

You are also entitled to free NHS prescriptions if you receive Universal Credit or if you or your partner gets:

  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit 
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit with Savings Credit.

NHSBSA added: “If you get Pension Credit Savings Credit on its own, you are not automatically entitled to free NHS prescriptions. However, you could apply for help through the NHS Low Income Scheme.”

Tax credits

You are entitled to free NHS prescriptions if your annual family income used to work out your tax credits is £15,276 or less, and you receive either:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit paid together
  • Working Tax Credit including a disability element

If you meet this eligibility you should automatically receive an NHS tax credit exception.

Pregnant women or women who have had a baby in the last 12 months

If you have had a baby in the last 12 months, or are currently pregnant, you are entitled to free NHS prescriptions.

However, this is only possible if you have a valid maternity exemption certificate.

Medical conditions

Some medical conditions allow patients to receive free NHS prescriptions.

You should use your certificate as proof of entitlement.

Low income

People who have a low income, including students and pensioners, are entitled to free medication from the NHS.

In this case, you must have a valid HC2 certificate.

These certificates are issued to people who qualify for help with health costs via the NHS Low Income Scheme.

People who receive War Pension Scheme or Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments

You are entitled to a free NHS prescription if you have a valid war pension exemption certificate and your prescription is for your “accepted disability”.

NHSBSA adds: “You’re also entitled to free NHS wigs and fabric supports if they relate to your accepted disability and you have a valid war pension exemption certificate.”



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