Low Income Scheme


We will not be providing face-to-face advice or training for the foreseeable future. We will contact existing advice clients by phone. Our staff will continue to support our members and can be reached via telephone and email as usual.

We are working hard to move our training, where possible, to digital. For any queries, please contact our training team at [email protected]

We can only provide advice to people living in Northern Ireland. 

Helpline contact details:

Welfare Changes ring 0808 802 0020 or email [email protected]
Tax & Benefits ring 0800 988 2377 or email [email protected]
Business Debt ring 0800 083 8018 or email [email protected]
Debt Action ring 0800 028 1881 or email [email protected]
EU Settlement Scheme ring 0800 138 6545 or email [email protected]
For Historical Institutional Abuse advice and support call 02890 645919 email [email protected]


If you or the person you are caring for are not exempt from Health Service charges, you may be entitled to some help with these costs under the Low Income Scheme.

The Low Income Scheme provides income-related help if you are not exempt from charges. You may be entitled to full or partial help if you have a low income.

To find out if you qualify for help on the Low Income Scheme you must complete a HC1 form. Visit our help with costs section for further details. 

The Low Income Scheme covers:

  • HS dental treatment
  • Sight tests, glasses and contact lenses
  • The cost of travel to receive HS treatment
  • Free wigs and fabric supports

To qualify, you or the person you care for, must:

  • Be on a low income 
  • Have capital of no more than £16,000 or, if you live permanently in a care home, have capital of no more than £23,000. This includes money in a bank/building society or savings account and any shares, investments or bonds.

If you have a partner, their property, capital, saving or salary will also be included in their claim. A partner is classed as someone you live with as a couple, of the same or opposite sex, even if you are not married or do not have a civil partnership.

Backdated claims

If you or someone you are caring for applies for help through the Low Income Scheme and has recently had to pay for dental treatment, optical treatment, travel costs, wigs or fabric supports, you can make a claim for a refund when applying for your certificate. This can be done when requesting the HC1 form to apply to the Low Income Scheme. You have 3 months in which to claim a refund.

To make a refund claim you must also request a HC5 refund form which is relevant to the charge you had paid.