I have recently been on a course to learn how to help people who have had their income reduced at work.
There is a system available called the NHS Low Income Scheme, which your friend may qualify for. In addition, they will qualify for help on age grounds, no matter what their income/savings.
If the person is in receipt of the State Retirement Pension, they must be over 60.
Everyone aged 60 or over gets free prescriptions and eye tests.
Depending on their circumstances, they could also get:
- Free NHS dental treatment.
- A voucher towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses.
- Help with travel costs to receive NHS treatment.
- Free NHS wigs and fabric supports if required.
People on Pension Credit related to income (the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit) get these automatically, but Pension Credit based on savings does not count.
To see if they can get extra help, they need to fill in form HC1, available by calling 0845 850 1166 or by visiting www.nhs.uk/healthcosts
Dentists, opticians and hospitals keep a stock of them too.
When the claim has been assessed, they will receive:
- A form called HC2, which entitles one to the maximum help with health costs.
- A form HC3, which entitles one to some help with some or all health costs.
- A form HC4, informing you that you do not qualify for help.
If the person has had to pay for something recently*, or has to pay for something whilst their application is being processed, they can complete form HC5 and, if their application is successful, ask for reimbursement (prescriptions have now been excluded from this, but they should be getting these for free anyway because of their age!)
By recently, I mean three months, but there was talk of reducing this- check if this applies to them.
This assumes your friend lives in England, slightly different arrangements exist for those living in Wales or Scotland.
A similar scheme exists to help with travel costs to visit someone in prison.
Don't hesitate to ask if I can be of any further help