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Wigs and fabric supports

NHS wigs and fabric supports supplied through a hospital are free if you live in Scotland or Wales. The current charges in England are:

  • Stock modacrylic wig: £71.25
  • Partial wig – human hair: £188.70
  • Full made-to-order wig: human hair £275.95
  • Abdominal support: £43.60
  • Spinal support: £43.60
  • Surgical brassiere: £28.85

Certain groups do not have to pay these charges.

Age

You’re entitled to free NHS wigs and fabric supports if you are:

  • under 16
  • under 19 and in full time education

Benefits

Income-based benefits

You are automatically entitled to free NHS wigs and fabric supports if you’re included in award for:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

If you’re getting one of these benefits, your partner and any dependent young people under 20 are also entitled to free NHS wigs and fabric supports.

You are also entitled to:

free NHS prescriptionsfree NHS sight testsfree NHS dental treatmenthelp with the cost of glasses or contact lensesrefunds of necessary travel costs to receive NHS treatment

Use your award notice as proof that you’re entitled.

Contribution-based benefits

If you’re receiving contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance, you are not automatically entitled to free NHS wigs and fabric supports. However, you could apply for help through the NHS Low Income Scheme.

Pension Credits

You’re entitled to free NHS wigs and fabric supports if you or your partner gets:

  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit or
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit with Savings Credit.

You’re also entitled to:

free NHS prescriptionsfree NHS sight testsfree NHS dental treatmenthelp with the cost of glasses or contact lensesrefunds of necessary travel costs to receive NHS treatment

If you get Pension Credit Savings Credit on its own, you are not automatically entitled to free NHS dental treatment. However, you could apply for help through the NHS Low Income Scheme.

Universal Credit

If you’re getting Universal Credit, your entitlement to free NHS wigs and fabric supports depends on your earnings for the most recent assessment period. You’re entitled if your earnings during that period were:

  • £435 or less
  • £935 or less if your Universal Credit includes an element for either:
    • a child
    • limited capability for work

‘Most recent assessment period’ means the assessment period that ended immediately before the date you claim free NHS prescriptions. It runs for a calendar month.

If you claim Universal Credit as a couple, the earnings limit applies to the joint income of you and your partner.

If you meet these conditions, you’re also entitled to:

free NHS prescriptionsfree NHS sight testsfree NHS dental treatmenthelp with the cost of glasses or contact lensesrefunds of necessary travel costs to receive NHS treatment

Tax credits

You are entitled to free NHS wigs and fabric supports if your annual family income is £15,276 or less and you receive either:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit paid together
  • Working Tax Credit including a disability element

If you meet these conditions, you will automatically receive an NHS tax credit exemption certificate.

NHS tax credit exemption certificates

Low income (including students and pensioners)

You’re entitled to free NHS wigs and fabric supports if you have applied to the NHS Low Income Scheme and received an HC2 certificate for full help with health costs.

If you have applied to the NHS Low Income Scheme and received an HC3 certificate for limited help with health costs, you may be entitled to help with the cost of your NHS wigs and fabric supports. Your certificate tells you how much you have to pay towards your charges.

People who receive War Pension Scheme or Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments

You can get free NHS wigs and fabric supports if you have a valid war pension exemption certificate and the wig or fabric support is for your accepted disability.

You're also entitled to free NHS prescriptions if they relate to your accepted disability and you have a valid war pension exemption certificate.

You can claim money back for dental treatment, NHS travel costs, sight test, glasses or contact lenses if you receive war pension or Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payments and the treatment is for your accepted disability. Write to:

The Treatment Group

Veterans UK

Norcross

Blackpool

FY5 3WP

Or call: 0808 1914218

Refunds

If you pay for NHS wigs or fabric supports and later find out that you’re entitled to help with those costs, you can claim a refund. You must make your refund claim within three months of paying charges.

Download and print the HC5(W) form to claim a refund. The form tells you what to do.

HC5(W) wigs and fabric supports refund form (49KB)

If you can’t download and print the HC5(W), you can call 0300 330 1343 and we will post a form to you.