Entitlement to free prescriptions mid-migration
Natural migration from IR-ESA to UC - will continue to be entitled to free prescriptions due to no earned income.
Claimed UC 16 Feb and first payment due 22 March
Client has £200 worth of prescriptions to collect 8th March. They do not have the money to pay for these upfront.
Can they tick UC (or ESA!) box on the prescription form while still in the first assessment period, or will this leave them liable for penalty charges?
I’m afraid that I don’t know the answer but this suggests that your client would need to have gone through the AIP at least once:
If you’re getting Universal Credit, your entitlement to free or reduced cost NHS healthcare 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 a child, or if you have a limited capability for work or limited capability for work and work related activity.
‘Most recent assessment period’ means the assessment period that ended immediately before the date you claim free NHS healthcare. It runs for a calendar month.
That was my thought Paul - I’m also wondering if they will remain eligible during the 2-week run on period of income-related ESA, if they can get some of the items issued earlier. Going to advise doing an online NHS costs claim today and hope it comes through before the 8th.
The Regs provide for this scenario and allow the claimant to claim a refund. See paras. (1B)-(1C) here.
The ESA run on would also be a reason to be entitled to free prescriptions without even having to pay for it first.
I think its possible in these circumstances to buy a pre-payment certificate for 30 quid, pick up your prescriptions and then apply for the PPC to be refunded once you get the paperwork sorted.
Charles - very helpful info, thank you, no need to claim the LIS in that case.
Elliot - I’d forgotten about the shorter 3 month PPC, hopefully £60 (claimant and partner) is more doable! Much appreciate the advice, not an area I come across that often.
Is there a campaign to make prescriptions free in England, as an ex-pat/migrant in Wales that situation is abysmal, it is like in the US you can only get meds if you can afford them
I think your question was resolved due the ESA payment, but as far as UC is concerned the Gov UK site about NHS prescriptions is pretty good at letting people on UC know whether or not they will get free prescriptions and when.
<https://www.gov.uk/help-nhs-costs> the usual green apply now button and it takes less than the five minutes quoted.
It covers many scenarios including where a UC claim has been made, there are no earnings but UC payment has not been made (actually it is the first assessment period is not complete). There is a question along the lines have you applied for a benefit and are waiting a decision. If you answer “yes” to this about UC you get and answer below which makes it clear the first assessment period has to be complete. There will, of course, be different answers, if there are earnings, other benefit, specific medical conditions etc.
“Until the first assessment period is complete, Universal Credit doesn’t entitle you or your partner to help with NHS costs.
If you or your partner need to pay for any NHS charges, for example, prescriptions or dental treatment, get a receipt and ask how to claim a refund”
This one is a bit better for me than the generall info on the NHS low income site, apart from not giving any regulation references etc