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HC3 certificates (limited help with health costs)

If you apply to the NHS Low Income Scheme and receive an HC3 certificate for limited help with health costs, your certificate will tell you how much help you can get towards the cost of:

  • NHS dental treatment
  • NHS sight tests
  • travelling to receive NHS treatment
  • NHS wigs and fabric supports

You may also be entitled to help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses. The amount of help available is known as a voucher value, which depends on the strength of your prescribed lenses. Your optician will tell you which voucher applies to you and how much you need to pay based on your certificate.

The cost of your glasses or contact lenses will be reduced by the difference between the relevant voucher value and the amount your certificate says you have to pay. If the amount shown on your certificate is higher than your voucher value, you will have to pay for your glasses or contact lenses in full.

It's your own responsibility to check your certificate's expiry date.

If you claim help with your health costs after your certificate expires, you may have to pay a penalty charge of up to £100.

Replacement certificates

If you lose or damage your certificate, we can send you a replacement. You will receive your replacement certificate within 10 working days.

Contact us

If you still need help with your health costs when your certificate expires, you must re-apply by completing a new HC1 form.

Change of financial circumstances 

In most cases, you don’t need to tell us if your financial circumstances change after you receive your certificate. You can continue to use your certificate until it expires.

However, if your certificate is valid for five years, certain changes may affect the validity of your certificate. Please contact us if you have a five year certificate and your circumstances change.

If your income reduces or your necessary outgoings increase, you may be entitled to a certificate that gives you more help towards your health costs. You can complete a new HC1 form to re-apply based on your new circumstances at any time. If you do re-apply and are awarded less help, you can still use your original certificate until it expires.

Change of name or address

If your address changes, please contact us so we can update our records.

If your name changes, we will update your certificate. You will need to send us your existing certificate, plus one of the following:

  • a copy of your marriage certificate
  • a copy of your civil partnership certificate
  • a copy of your deed poll
  • your passport
  • your Decree Absolute

Our address is:

NHS Help with Health Costs
NHS Business Services Authority
Bridge House
152 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle upon Tyne