Universal Credit is issued by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which oversees the payment and ensures claimants get the money to which they are entitled. The payment is designed to assist individuals who are on a low income, or who have found themselves out of work. In this sense, the importance of Universal Credit has increased during the past few months, due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
To be eligible, a person must be over the age of 18 in most circumstances, but under state pension age.
And a person and any partner must have less than £16,000 in savings to make a Universal Credit claim.
But a particularly useful component of Universal Credit which may be available to some claimants is free NHS healthcare – both prescriptions and dental cover.
This is likely to provide an additional level of support, valuable for many households across the country
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The NHS has developed an online eligibility checker available on its website, which informs claimants in minutes if they can receive assistance.
And it is particularly important for claimants to make regular use of this checker.
This is because claimants whose working hours and income vary each month may drop in and out of eligibility.
Brendan Brown, director of Citizen Service at the NHSBSA commented on the availability of healthcare to Universal Credit claimants.
A new FP10 prescription form was created at the start of the year, and claimants can tick the ‘U’ box on the form if they meet the criteria for free prescriptions.
For pharmacies that may be using the old form for the meantime, Universal Credit claimants can tick box ‘K’, which relates to income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Individuals who still need further clarity on what they could be entitled to are encouraged to use the NHS website to find out more.
There may also be other financial support at hand for those earning above the threshold.
The NHS Low Income Scheme and the purchase of a Prescription Pre-payment Certificate (PPC), may also help Britons to reduce their costs.