Benefits for Students in Scotland Handbook
Part 1: Benefits and tax credits
Chapter 5: Health benefit...
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Chapter 5: Health benefits

This chapter covers:

1. What are health benefits (below)

2. Who is eligible (Cross reference)

3. Claiming health benefits (Cross reference)

4. Challenging a decision (Cross reference)

Basic facts

– Everyone in Scotland is entitled to free NHS eye and dental checks and free prescriptions.

– Full-time students under 19 can get free dental treatment and vouchers for glasses.

– Any student under 18 can get free NHS dental treatment.

– Other students can get help if they have a low income or in certain other circumstances.

 

1. What are health benefits

There are charges for some NHS treatments and services including:

glasses and contact lenses;

dental treatment.

There are also often costs incurred in getting to hospital. You may be exempt from these charges or be able to claim help with them on low income grounds.Footnote  

There is no charge for NHS  eye and dental checks, or for prescriptions. Note: if you have an English prescription form there may be a charge, but there are exemptions.Footnote


2. Who is eligible
Under age 18

If you are under 18, you are entitled to free NHS dental treatment. It does not matter if you are studying full time or part time, or not studying at all.


Under age 19

If you are in full-time education, you are entitled to free NHS dental treatment and vouchers for glasses.

If you are in part-time education, you are not automatically exempt from NHS charges, but you might get help because you get a qualifying benefit, are in an exempt group or qualify under the low income scheme (see Cross reference).


Aged 19 or over

You are not automatically exempt from NHS charges because you are a student, but you might get help because you get a qualifying benefit, are in an exempt group or qualify under the low income scheme.


Qualifying benefits

You get free NHS dental treatment, vouchers for glasses and certain fares to hospital if you get: 

universal credit (UC) and you:Footnote

have no earnings; or

earn £435 or less a month (or, if you have a partner, your combined earnings are £435 or less a month); or have a child element in your UC, or you or your partner (or both of you) have limited capability for work and earn £935 or less a month (or, if you have a partner, your combined earnings are £935 or less a month); income support (IS);

income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSA); income-related employment and support allowance (ESA); guarantee credit of pension credit (PC); child tax credit (CTC) and your income for tax credit purposes is £15,276 or less; or working tax credit (WTC) with a disabled worker element or severe disability element and your income for tax credit purposes is £15,276 or less.   
Exempt groups
Dental treatment

You are eligible for free NHS dental treatment if:

you are pregnant or have given birth in the last year;

you are under the Public Dental Service (for people who have difficulty getting treatment for reasons such as a disability);

you are an asylum seeker getting asylum support;

you get a war pension and need treatment for your war disablement; or

you are a care leaver getting support from the local authority under section 29 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.


Vouchers for glasses or contact lenses

You are eligible for vouchers for glasses if:

you are aged under 16;

you have a prescription for complex lenses;

you are a Hospital Eye Service patient;

you are an asylum seeker getting asylum support;

you get a war pension and need treatment for your war disablement; or

you are a care leaver getting support from the local authority under section 29 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.


Fares to hospital

You are eligible for help with fares to hospital if:

it is 30 miles or more away, or involves a journey of five miles or more by sea, and you live in the Highlands or Islands – ie:

the Highland region, Western Isles, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands;

Arran, Great Cumbrae, Little Cumbrae;

the area formerly covered by Argyll and Bute District Council;

parts of Moray (Aberlour, Cabrach, Dallas, Dyke, Edinkillie, Forres, Inveravon, Kinloss, Kirkmichael, Knockando, Mortlach, Rafford, Rothes);

you are an asylum seeker getting asylum support;

you get a war pension and need treatment for your war disablement; or

you are a care leaver getting support from the local authority under section 29 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.


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