Date Revised:

You may be able to get help with health costs if you have a low income.

If you don’t qualify for help because you claim certain benefits or because of a medical condition, you may still get help if you have a low income - this is called the NHS low income scheme.

The amount of help you will get will depend on how much money you earn and your savings. If you have over a certain amount you will not be able to get any help.

There are two types of help if you are on low income: 

  • Full help certificate – pays for all your health costs, including getting free prescriptions in England.
  • Limited health certificate - you will get help with some health costs (but not prescriptions in England).

You apply for these by filling in a HC1 (HC1W in Wales) form from your GP, dentist, optician or chemist. It is best to apply before you need the certificate (don’t wait until you go for treatment).