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Universal Credit: Help your patients avoid costly mistakes

The NHS Business Services Authority is responsible for verifying claims for free NHS prescriptions and dental treatment. If a patient can’t prove their entitlement, they are required to pay a penalty charge of up to £100 – as well as the original prescription or treatment charge.

Universal Credit (UC) does not automatically entitle patients to help with their health costs. To qualify, patients must be included in a UC award and their earnings during their most recent assessment period must be:

  • £435 or less
  • £935 or less if their UC includes an element for either a child or limited capability for work

It’s important that patients who meet this criteria tick the ‘income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance’ box on the patient declaration until the prescription form is updated.

The FP17PR form has already been updated to include UC. If your dental practice is not yet using the updated version, you can contact PCSE to order new stock. Your patients who meet the UC conditions should tick the 'income-based Jobseeker's Allowance' box until then.

Our factsheets can help you and your colleagues to improve patients’ understanding of the rules around entitlement:

Factsheet for dispensers

Factsheet for dental practice staff

Help for patients who don’t qualify

Patients who aren’t entitled to free prescriptions or dental treatment through their UC may qualify for help through the NHS Low Income Scheme, and anyone who regularly pays prescription charges may be able to reduce the cost with a prescription prepayment certificate.

Our online eligibility checker tells patients what help may be available to them based on their circumstances.

Free NHS prescriptions

Information for people receiving benefits and tax credits, people with medical conditions and pregnant women

Read more

Free NHS dental treatment

Check whether you have to pay NHS dental treatment charges

Read more