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Document What is the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS)?

The NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS) provides help to people who aren't exempt from charges but who may be entitled to full or partial help because they have a low income.

The LIS covers:
  • NHS prescriptions
  • NHS dental treatment
  • sight tests, glasses and contact lenses
  • travel to receive NHS treatment
  • NHS wigs and fabric supports
The scheme is designed so that you can claim for a certificate before you need any treatment and are able to budget accordingly. However, if you've already paid for something, you can apply for a refund at the same time you apply for a certificate.

To apply for Help with Health Costs (HwHC), you must apply via the HC1 application form.

Location: Help with Health Costs Homepage >> Help With Health Costs >> NHS Low Income Scheme >> How to apply >> Order an HC1 

If you qualify for help, you will be issued with one of the following certificates once the assessment is completed:
  • HC2 certificate - This entitles you to a remission of the full charge if the certificate is valid on either the start date of the Course of Treatment (CoT), or the date the charge is made
  • HC3 certificate - You may not have to pay the full charge if the certificate is valid on either the start date of the CoT, or the date the charge is made. The HC3 certificate will indicate how much of the charge you must pay
You are already entitled to full HwHC and don't need to fill in a HC1 if you, or your partner if you have one, are:
  • getting Income Support;
  • getting Pension Credit Guarantee Credit;
  • getting income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance;
  • getting income-related Employment and Support Allowance; or
  • named on, or entitled to, an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate.
  • getting Universal Credit (in certain circumstances)

You cannot get HwHC and cannot fill in a HC1 if you or your partner (or both) have more than:
  • £16,000 in savings, investments or property (not counting the place where you live); or
  • £23,250 in savings, investments or property if you live permanently in a care home
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