Universal credit and NHS Prescription Charges: there is no box to tick on the back of an FP10 for Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is a single system of means-tested support for working-age people both in and out of work. This is intended to replace ultimately some existing means-tested benefits, including income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. Readers will have seen the “teething problems” that have led claimants having to endure long delays for payments and get into debt particularly with their rent. Unfortunately the situation regarding NHS prescription charges is also complicated as people may drop in and out of eligibility, depending on their earnings.
Patients claiming exemption from NHS prescription charges are eligible for free prescriptions if they receive:
- Universal Credit and had no earnings or net earnings up to £435 during the most recent assessment period (which is essentially a month at a time starting from whenever the entitlement was granted e.g. 8th September to the 7th October with, in that case, a new assessment period starting on 8th October).
- Universal Credit which includes an element for a child and/or limited capability for work.
- Universal Credit for limited capability for “work related activity” and had no earnings or net earnings up to £935 during the most recent assessment period.
Most prescription forms do not yet have a box for Universal Credit: patients should tick the box for income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. Patients claiming the Universal Credit exemption should show their claim award at the point of dispensing, having considered whether their earnings are still within the threshold limits during their current assessment period. If patients are in doubt about their exemption status they should pay the charge and be given the NHS receipt form FP57 to claim any refund. The DWP warns that claims will be checked and any prescriptions charges found to be have been waived in error will be reclaimed with interest from future Universal Credit payments.
Further details can be found here