Universal Credit and Health Costs

People who receive means tested benefits are generally eligible for free help with:

  • prescriptions
  • vouchers for glasses or contact lenses
  • sight tests
  • NHS dental treatment
  • hospital travel costs

For people who are getting Universal Credit this assistance is available only to those who either

  • have no earnings or have earnings of less than £435 net in their last assessment period. This rule applies to everyone.
  • or, if their Universal Credit includes an element for a child or if they have an element for limited capability for work or work related activity they have had net earnings of less than £935 in the  last Universal Credit assessment period.

For couples the income rules apply to combined earnings.


In order to prove entitlement claimants may have to provide a copy of their UC award notice which should be dated within the preceding month.

In addition when claimants are completing health costs claim forms and there is no Universal Credit tick box available they are advised to tick the box for Income Based Job Seekers Allowance.

Providing proof of receipt of Universal Credit

Showing the pharmacist or receptionist at the dentist your UC award notice can be difficult as claimants under full service do not have receive letters form DWP.  If they have a printer or access to a printer they can print out the letter and send that . If not they are advised to take a photo of their screen with the award notice on it and show this to the relevant person. Unfortunately the UC page with payment details does not include the claimants name or National Insurance number. We understand that changes are planned to include at least the claimants name on the payment detail page.


Official Advice

The advice given to claimants both by the NHS website (www.nhs.uk) and the Government website (www.gov.uk) website has also caused issues – in this advice claimants are told that if they wish to claim a free prescription and there is no Universal Credit box to tick, then they should tick the box alongside Income-based Jobseekers Allowance.

However we are aware of examples where claimants have done so and it has been discovered that they are not in receipt of (IB) JSA and they have received a fine for giving fraudulent information. These decisions can be challenged so seek advice.


We would suggest that you also write Universal Credit alongside the IB JSA box

The advice given by the NHS site for those who are waiting for a UC decision or aren’t sure whether they qualify is that they should then pay for their prescriptions (this is very difficult if there are more than one and it costs £8.80 per item), ask for a receipt and a FP57 form that will allow a claim for a refund once the UC claim has been assessed.


Related Information

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