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Help with travel costs

If you are travelling to hospital for NHS treatment under the care of a consultant you may be able to claim a refund. You can make a claim if any of the following conditions apply:

You or your partner receive

  • Income Support / Income related Employment and Support Allowance or
  • income-based Jobseeker’s allowance or
  • The Guarantee Credit of Pension Credit or
  • Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit (in certain cases)

You receive a War Disablement Pension and are being treated for your war disability.

Please note, Incapacity Benefit or Disability Living Allowance do not count as they are not income-related benefits.

If I don’t receive any of these qualifying benefits what help is available?

If your income is low enough you may be able apply for help under the Low Income Scheme. This is a means-tested scheme where you receive help with health care costs if your income and savings are low enough. The qualifying amounts are reviewed each year and the scheme covers more than just travel costs, e.g. sight test costs.

If you are taking part in certain types of clinical research trials you may get help with your travel costs, even if you don’t receive one of these benefits. Ask your doctor or research nurse for further details.

What types of travel costs can I claim?

You can claim your bus and train fares, or your petrol costs, parking costs and congestion charges if you drove to your appointment.

Reimbursement of taxi costs will only be made where it was medically necessary for you to travel by taxi.

How do I make a claim?

Collect a claim form from the service/team/ward or a Patient Affairs Office.

Your clinician or another member of staff will sign and date the claim form to confirm you attended the appointment/ward.

Take the documents below either to a cashier at the site where you attended your appointment (if there is one) or to one of the Patient Fares Offices at St Pancras Hospital or Highgate Mental Health Centre:

  • Claim form
  • Proof of your travel costs - e.g. your receipts, or tickets or Oyster card
  • Proof of your entitlement to one of the qualifying benefits* - e.g. all pages of your award letter, or your valid NHS Tax Credits Exemption Certificate or your valid HC2 certificate.

You will usually be able to collect your payment on the day you visit.

Please note, petrol costs are calculated on a “pence per mile” rate, based on the distance between the hospital and your home address.

Can I claim a refund for someone travelling with me?

If you need someone to travel with you to hospital for medical reasons, you can get their travel costs paid as well. Their travel costs will be added to your claim.

  • Collect an Escort Slip from the service/team/ward reception before your consultation or treatment appointment
  • Ask your consultant to assess your situation during your consultation.

If they agree that you need someone to travel with you they will sign the relevant section on the Escort Slip.

Take the following documents to the cashiers, as before

  • Escort Slip
  • Proof of both your travel costs
  • Proof of your entitlement to one of the qualifying benefits

What if no one is available to process the refund?

You can claim reimbursement at your next visit or if you will not be visiting the Trust in the near future, complete a HC5(T) refund form. Please see information above.

How do I apply for help through the Low Income Scheme?

Complete application form HC1 and send it off in the envelope that comes with it. The NHS Business Services Authority will use the information on your form to work out how much help you might get towards your costs.

If you qualify for help, you will be sent a certificate (HC2 certificate for full help or an HC3 for partial help).

You use this certificate when applying to reclaim travel or other health costs.

Form HC1 is available from a Patient Affairs Office, persons responsible for the reimbursement of travel costs at Trust sites, from your GP, or by calling the advice line number below.

Please contact the NHS Business Services.

Authority for full details of the scheme. They can tell you about the current rates for the level of income and/or savings which determines whether you qualify.

Can I apply for the Low Income Scheme if I have already paid my travel fares?

You have up to three months from the date you traveled to make a claim. Complete the refund claim form HC5, available from the NHS Business Services Authority on the number below.

Where can I get further information about these schemes?

Call the NHS Business Services Authority’s Help with Health Costs advice line on 0845 850 1166

They produce an information booklet (HC11) Help with Health Costs, which you may find useful. It’s also available to download from www.nhs.uk

Information is also available at www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk

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