NHS prescription: 15 groups qualify for free prescriptions – are you eligible?

Martin Lewis offers advice on NHS prescriptions

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As the cost of living crisis continues, Britons will be looking for ways they may be ble to cut costs. There are 15 groups of people who qualify for help towards NHS medical costs so people are urged to check if they are eligible.

The prescription charge has been frozen this year at £9.35 per item, however having multiple prescriptions can add up to hundreds each year.

But in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, prescriptions are free for all, regardless of circumstances.

Britons who live with certain medical conditions should automatically be sent a medical exemption certificate so they don’t have to pay.

However, anyone can double check their entitlement to free prescriptions by going onto the NHS website where there is a handy online tool.

Recently, there have been fears free prescriptions for over 60s could be at risk as the Government debates a potential rule change.

It may mean the free prescription age aligns with state pension age, which is currently 66 and rising.

Consequently, many Britons in the affected age group will be worried if they could miss out in the future.

However, over 60s are not the only category of people entitled to a free prescription in England, and there are other groups an individual could fall into.

People on state benefits like Universal Credit could be exempt from paying for their prescriptions depending on their circumstances.

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.

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.

If a person has a valid NHS tax credits exemption certificate they may be eligible for a free prescription.

This can be gained by those who receive Working Tax Credit with a disability element, or Child Tax Credit, and have income for tax purposes of £15,276 or less.

Britons under 16s and those between 16 and 18 who are in full-time education also qualify for free prescriptions, as well as pregnant women and women who had a baby in the last 12 months, as long as they have a maternity exemption certificate.

For more information on which groups qualify for free prescriptions can be be found on the NHS website.

Britons are urged to use the eligibility checker to know if they qualify.

Anyone who is struggling financially but doesn’t qualify for benefits should consider investing in a Pre Payment Certificate (PPC).

A PPC enables people to purchase as many NHS prescriptions as they need throughout the year for £108.10.

While this would save an individual a few pounds if they relied on just one prescription per month, it could save them over £100 if they usually need two.

Alternatively, they could try out a three month one at £30.25 first.

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