Funding is provided by the NHS for travel expenses to medical appointments for those on benefits through the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS).
The qualifying benefits and allowances are:
- Income support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Working tax credit (WTC) with Child Tax Credit (CTC)
- WTC with a disability element or a severe disability element
- CTC but you aren’t eligible for WTC
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Universal Credit, if you meet the criteria
You can also claim for help with travel costs if:
- You’re named or entitled to an NHS tax credit exemption certificate (if you don’t have a certificate, the award notice will suffice) – you qualify if you get child tax credits, working tax credits with a disability element (or both), and have income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less
- You have a low income and are named on the certificate HC2 (full help) or HC3 (limited help) – to apply for this certificate you need to complete the HC1 form first to go through a means-tested process to reclaim your expenses.
The HC5 form can be used to claim the costs in advance but if you are on a low income (and not on any of the listed qualifying benefits) you have to complete the HC1 form first to obtain a HC2 or HC3 certificate before using the HC5.
If you aren’t in receipt of qualifying benefits but are on a low income and have savings of less than £16,000 (or £23,500 if in a care home) you may be eligible for assistance with your travel expenses. Click here for more information on the NHS Low Income Scheme.
The NHS will normally refund what would have been the cheapest suitable mode of transport for you which in most cases will be public transport. If you require a taxi, it is recommended you agree this with the hospital or CCG in advance.
Please check the NHS website for the latest updates on terms and conditions, and for contact details if you require assistance with your application.