NHS prescriptions are free for those on DWP support – full list of eligible state benefits

NHS PRESCRIPTION costs are paid by most adults in England and currently, the prescription charge is £9.35 per item. However, claimants of specific state benefits can get their prescriptions for free.

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NHS prescriptions cost £9.35 per item but there are a number of situations in which a person can get free prescriptions. Those of certain ages and claimants of benefits such as Universal Credit can get subsidized healthcare.

Currently, a person can get free NHS prescriptions if, at the time the prescription is dispensed, they:

  • Are 60 or over
  • Are under 16
  • Are 16 to 18 and in full-time education
  • Are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and have a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)
  • Have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
  • Have a continuing physical disability that prevents them going out without help from another person and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
  • Hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for their accepted disability
  • Are an NHS inpatient

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NHS prescriptions can be free (Image: GETTY)

People will also be entitled to free prescriptions if they, or their partner (including civil partner) receive, or they’re under the age of 20 and the dependant of someone receiving:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Universal Credit and meet the criteria


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Universal Credit claimants may qualify for a range of healthcare support on top of prescription costs.

A claimant will qualify if, on the date they claim help with health costs, they receive Universal Credit and either had no earnings or had net earnings of £435 or less in their last Universal Credit assessment period or, they receive Universal Credit, which includes an element for a child, or they (or their partner) had limited capability for work (LCW) or limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA), and they either had no earnings or net earnings of £935 or less in their last Universal Credit assessment period.

When claiming healthcare support, recipients should present a copy of their Universal Credit award notice to prove their entitlement.

Universal Credit itself is a payment awarded to those who need help with their living costs.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit provides support for a number of costs (Image: EXPRESS)

Universal Credit can be claimed by those who are on a low income or out of work entirely.

Claimants must also be aged between 18 and state pension age and have less than £16,000 in savings.

Universal Credit payments are made up of a standard allowance along with additional amounts to cover certain lifestyle costs.

This can include childcare costs and rental payments.

Monthly standard allowances are based on the claimants age and relationship status and they range between £344 and £596.58 per month.

Claims for Universal Credit are made online through the Government’s website.

Before applying, claimants will need to have certain information at the ready such as their bank details, income information and outgoing costs.

Full details on Universal Credit rules can be found on the Government’s website and impartial guidance can be sought through the likes of Citizens Advice and Money Helper.

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