BRITS on Universal Credit will have a new tick box on prescription forms to stop them being slapped with £100 fines.
The NHS will roll out fresh forms within weeks to make it easier for them to claim free health prescriptions.
The news comes more than a year after The Sun revealed how the new slips had been in the pipeline for months but still hadn’t been signed off.
Low-income Brits on Universal Credit are entitled to get free prescriptions, but the NHS form has not had a tick box to say the person is on the new benefits system.
Patients can claim the help if their earnings during their most recent assessment period were less than £435, or under £935 if it’s for a child or they have limited capacity for work.
The box will say: “Universal Credit and meets the criteria.”
Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince, said today:“I’m delighted that this common-sense change will mean it’s simpler for people on Universal Credit to get free prescriptions.
“There’s a huge amount of support available to people, and people should check out www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk to see what else they could be entitled to.”
Previously officials said claimants should tick the box for Income-based Jobseekers’ Allowance.
John Kell, head of policy at the Patients Association, told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the updated forms are “better late than never”.
He said: “We know that the penalties system has been wrongly issuing fines to patients who are in fact entitled to free prescriptions, and the lack of an appropriate option for UC on FP10 forms has been a factor in this.
“Now that the new forms are here, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) needs to monitor their use to ensure they are having the desired effect, and not throwing up unintended consequences.”
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It’s just one of many problems Brits on the new welfare system are facing, as it’s being rolled out across the country.
Many say they have been pushed into debt waiting for their benefits, and have experienced a series of bungles.
How to get help with prescriptions on Universal Credit – and not get fined
- You qualify if, on the date you claim help with health costs, you receive Universal Credit and either had no earnings or had net earnings of £435 or less in your last Universal Credit assessment period
- Or if you receive Universal Credit, which includes an element for a child, or you (or your partner) had limited capability for work (LCW) or limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA), and you either had no earnings or net earnings of £935 or less in your last Universal Credit assessment period
- If you’re a couple this applies to your combined net incomes
- You should present a copy of your Universal Credit award letter (or show them an online copy) to your GP or pharmacy to prove you can get it
- If you have to tick a box and there’s nothing about Universal Credit tick the one for income-based Jobseekers’ Allowance
- If your UC claim is still being assessed or you’re waiting for a decision about your threshold earnings then you may have to pay – you have to have met the critera in the period before you get the prescription to quality for a refund
- If you do pay for a prescription then get a receipt and a refund form WHEN you pay – you can’t get one later
- If you’re paying for several prescriptions on a regular basis then you may be able to get help with a prescription prepayment certificate
- If you’re on a low income but NOT on UC yet, then you might be able to apply for the NHS Low Income scheme to get help with healthcare
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