Launch of consultation on changes to help with health costs

Date published: 25 July 2017

The Department of Health has launched a public consultation on Proposed Changes to Eligibility Criteria for exemption from dental and ophthalmic costs and the remission of costs for travelling to and from hospital on referral following the introduction of Universal Credit.

The Department is proposing to introduce additional criterion to the Help with Health Costs Scheme based on receipt of Universal Credit and with associated earnings thresholds.

This consultation process is seeking views on the proposed additional eligibility criterion with the aim of ensuring those most in need receive this very important benefit. Until changes to the eligibility criteria are introduced, those receiving Universal Credit can apply to receive support through the Low Income Scheme.

There are a number of ongoing changes to the welfare system including the introduction of Universal Credit (which replaces six existing benefits). For more information on these changes visit the Department of Health website. As this Department currently uses the receipt of the current income-related benefits as a proxy measure for low-income when assessing eligibility to Help with Health Costs, eligibility for providing this help will need to be reconsidered once the rollout of Universal Credit commences in September 2017.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The eight week public consultation will end 19 September 2017. 
  2. The full consultation document and consultation response questionnaire are accessible to view and download from the Department’s website
  3. For media queries about this press release please contact the DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0567. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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