As the cost of living crisis continues, Britons are urged to check if they qualify for free prescriptions as this could save them hundreds each year. The NHS has a helpful tool that allows people to describe their situation which can provide an answer for them.
Pensioners in England are entitled to the “freebie” when they turn 60 years old, however, this could be pushed back even further if a proposal to align it with the state pension age goes ahead.
Earlier this year, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Around 90 percent of community prescription items in England are free of charge, and people don’t pay if they are on a low income, over 60 years old, or have certain medical conditions.
“The upper age exemption has not changed since 1995 and that is why we have consulted on restoring the link with the state pension age. No decision has yet been made – we are considering the responses carefully and will respond in due course.”
Current Government proposals suggest the state pension age will be raised to 67 and then 68 in the future.
While inflation hit double digits of 9.9 percent in August, now is a crucial time for households to be checking their eligibility for additional means of support. The prescription cost in England is currently £9.35 per item, but this can all add up if people are claiming many prescriptions each month.
READ MORE: Nationwide offers five percent on ‘popular’ current account – are you eligible?
Certain groups are eligible to get these prescriptions for free, and there’s a really simple way to check.
Which groups are eligible for free NHS prescriptions?
There are 15 groups eligible for free NHS prescriptions, and these include:
- Under 16s
- Aged 16 to 18 and in full-time education
- Pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months
- Registered disabled and are unable to go out
- Have a war pension exemption certificate
- An NHS inpatient
- In receipt of Income Support
- In receipt of income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- In receipt of income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- In receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- In receipt of Universal Credit and their earnings during their last assessment period were £435 or less, or £935 or less if their UC includes an element for a child or they have limited capability for work
- The owner of a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
- In receipt of a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2).
- People with certain illnesses including cancer and epilepsy
- People aged 60 or over
On its website, Age UK shares tips with older people who are looking for ways to save money on their bus travel.
It states: “It’s also worth contacting the individual coach and train operators to see if they offer discounts for older people.
“For example, National Express offers a Senior Coach-card for people who are 60 and over.
“It costs £12.50 and offers a third off your travel throughout the year.
“Some local authorities offer concessions that apply to local public transport. Contact your local council for more information about what they offer.”