In England, NHS prescriptions currently cost £9.65 per item, which can cause a financial burden for those worried about the cost of living who have health issues.
However, there are some exemptions made available which mean certain groups do not have to pay the charge.
The first group who can currently get free prescriptions are individuals aged 60 or over.
Britons in England are entitled to free NHS prescriptions when they reach 60, however, this age could rise to state pension age – which is currently 66 – meaning millions of people could be left waiting longer for the freebie benefit.
This comes after a Government proposal suggested aligning the free prescription age with the state pension age.
If the suggestion goes ahead, older Britons in England will have to wait at least six years longer to get the benefit.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said last year: “Around 90 percent of community prescription items in England are free of charge, and people don’t pay if they are on a low income, over 60, or have certain medical conditions.
“The upper age exemption has not changed since 1995 and that is why we have consulted on restoring the link between this and the state pension age. We are considering the responses carefully and will respond in due course.”
As the cost of living crisis continues, Britons are urged to find out if they qualify for any benefits which could help cut costs.
Someone’s age is an important factor in determining whether people are entitled to this freebie benefit.
Britons aged 16 to 18 who are in full-time education, are another exempt group.
List of the demographics who are eligible for free prescriptions based on their age bracket:
- Over 60s in England
- Young people under 16
- Young people between the ages of 16 and 18 if they are in higher education
- Residents in Scotland and Wales no matter what age they are.
People on state benefits like Universal Credit could be exempt from paying for their prescriptions depending on their circumstances.
Benefits such as income support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Pension Credit could also mean someone is entitled to free prescriptions.
Individuals can get prescriptions for free if they are entitled to or named on a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate.
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They will qualify if they get Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits with a disability element (or both), and have income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less.
Those with a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs, known as HC2, will not pay.
Finally, people named on an NHS certificate for partial help with health costs (HC3) may also get help.
Britons who are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months are only entitled to free NHS prescriptions if they have a valid maternity exemption certificate.
Claimants should qualify if they:
- Earned £435 or less in the last assessment period
- Took home £935 or less if this includes an element for a child.
People can visit the NHS website for a full list of groups who qualify for free prescriptions.
They provide an eligibility checker, where people will need to provide answers to short questions about their circumstances.
The assistance could help people pay for:
- NHS prescriptions
- NHS dental treatment
- Sight tests, glasses and contact lenses
- Travel to receive NHS treatment
- NHS wigs and fabric supports.
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