If you are on a low income you may be eligible to receive financial help through the NHS Low Income Scheme. To apply for an HC2 certificate, you should complete form HC1, which is available from Jobcentre Plus offices or most NHS hospitals. Your doctor, dentist or optician may be able to give you one, too. You can also get an HC1 form by calling 0300 123 0849.
Whether you qualify for help is based on a comparison between your weekly income and assessed requirements at the time the claim is made. For more information about requirements visit NHS: help with health costs.
You will qualify for a full help HC2 certificate (which includes free NHS prescriptions) if your income is less than or equal to your requirements, or your income is greater than your requirements by no more than half the current English prescription charge.
You will qualify for a limited help HC3 certificate if your income is greater than your requirements by more than half the current English prescription charge. The HC3 certificate shows how much you have to pay towards your health costs.
Certificates are usually valid for periods of between six months and five years, depending on your circumstances.
Find out more about the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS).