Help with health costs for Universal Credit claimants in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland all NHS prescriptions are free of charge to everyone. In addition to this, those claiming Income Support, Income Based Job Seeker’s Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance and eligible Tax Credit customers are automatically entitled to additional support for the health care costs:

  • Free NHS dental treatment
  • Free sight tests
  • Vouchers towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses
  • Help with the costs of travel for treatment referred to by a doctor or dentist

This automatic ‘passporting’ to support with health costs is not available to Universal Credit claimants – even if their circumstances have not changed when moving to Universal Credit.

Universal Credit claimants are required to submit a ‘HC1’ form to the Department for Communities (DfC) to determine if they are eligible for health care costs. Eligible customers are then issued with a full or partial exemption certificate which is valid for 12 months.

Where can I get the HC1 form?

Further information on help with health costs including accessing the form is available at www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/help-health-costs. The HC1 form can be downloaded from this website or you can request a hard copy of the form through your local Jobs & Benefits office; or by calling Universal Credit on 0800 012 1331.

Government legislation is required to enable automatic passporting for eligible Universal Credit (UC) customers and is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future. Therefore Universal Credit claimants must remember to reapply for this support, using the HC1 form, before their exemption certificate is due to end.

Further information

To make sure your family is claiming all the financial support you are entitled to, contact the Family Benefits Advice Service for a free, personalised ‘better off’ calculation. Freephone 0800 028 3008 or email hello@employersforchildcare.org. Last year, where we provided a ‘better off’ calculation for families, we were able to identify an average of over £5,600 in additional financial support.