Login FormClose

Free, fortnightly PIP, ESA and UC Updates

Our fortnightly bulletin, with over 80,000 subscribers, is the UK's leading source of benefits news. Find out what's changing, how it affects you and how to prepare. Our mailing list is securely managed by icontact in the US.

Can I get free prescriptions if I’m on Employment and Support Allowance?

If you qualify for income-related ESA, you automatically qualify for free prescriptions.

If you qualify for contribution based ESA, you might qualify for free prescriptions, depending on what your total household income is or what conditions you need medication for.

Can I get free prescriptions if I receive other benefits?

If you or your partner are receiving income related jobseeker's allowance, income support, pension credit (guarantee element) or Universal Credit (this currently applies to all claimants of Universal Credit from April 2013 to 31 October 2014)

Can I get free prescriptions if I’m on a low income?

In order to get free prescriptions because of low income, you need to complete form HC1. You can get the HC1 form from some healthcare settings or jobcentres, or by phoning 0845 610 1112.

If you qualify for full prescription costs, you will receive a HC2 certificate.

If you qualify for some help towards prescription costs, you will receive a HC3 certificate.

Can I get free prescriptions in other circumstances?

  • If you are under 16, or aged between 16 and 18 and still in full time education, you are entitled to free prescriptions.

  • If you are pregnant or have had a baby within the last 12 months, you are entitled to free prescriptions (as long as you hold a maternity exemption certificate)

  • If you are a NHS inpatient you will receive free prescriptions.

  • If you hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription relates to that specific disability, your prescriptions will be free.

  • If you have a continuing physical disability which prevents you going out without help from another person and you hold a valid medical exemption certificate, you will get free prescriptions.

  • If you have a certain medical condition and you hold a valid medical exemption certificate, you are entitled to free prescriptions.

What are Medical Exemption Certificates?

    Medical exemption certificates are issued on application if you have:

  • A permanent fistula (for example caecostomy, colostomy, laryngostomy or ileostomy) requiring continuous surgical dressing or requiring an appliance

  • A form of hypoadrenalism (for example Addison's disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential

  • Diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism

  • Diabetes mellitus, except where treatment is by diet alone

  • Hypoparathyroidism

  • Myasthenia gravis

  • Myxoedema (that is, hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)

  • Epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsive therapy

  • A continuing physical disability which means they cannot go out without the help of another person. Temporary disabilities do not count even if they last for several months

    Or if you are undergoing treatment for cancer:

  • including the effects of cancer, or

  • the effects of current or previous cancer treatment

If I get free prescriptions, can I get help with other health costs?

    If you get free prescriptions, you also qualify for help with:

  • free NHS dental treatment

  • free wigs and fabric supports

  • free sight tests and access to optical vouchers to help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses

  • assistance with the costs of travel to an NHS appointment on referral by a primary care practitioner (eg doctor, dentist or optician)