Hospital travel costs scheme
You may be able to get financial help from the Hospital Travel Costs Scheme if you're on a low income, need Health Service (HS) treatment at a hospital, other HS centre or private clinic and have been referred by an HS hospital consultant.
Who can claim?
You can claim Hospital Travel Costs Scheme if you, or those you depend on, get at least one of the following:
- Income Support
- Jobseeker's Allowance (Income Based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (Income-related)
- Guarantee Pension Credit
Depending on your income level you may also qualify for the Hospital travel costs scheme if you get one of the following:
- Child Tax Credit (with or without Working Tax Credit)
- Working Tax Credit with the disability element or severe disability element
Use the tax credit calculator to check if your income is too high for tax credits and work out what money you could get. There is no set limit for income because it depends on your circumstances (and those of your partner).
If an adult or a dependent child has to travel to your treatment with you for medical reasons, you can claim their travel costs too.
If a member of your family receives Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance (Income Based) or Employment and Support Allowance (Income-related) you will have to claim help from the Hospital Travel Costs Scheme. For Pension Credit Guarantee Credit the entitlement is automatic regardless of who in the household receives the benefit.
If you're on a low income but don't get any of these benefits or allowances, you may still claim travel costs through the HS low income support scheme.
How much do you get?
If you're on a relevant benefit(s) or allowances you get back the full travel costs by using the cheapest form of public transport available, including any concessions or promotions.
This applies to however you travel. If for example, you use a private car you can claim for petrol instead (and car parking charges where unavoidable) up to the cost of the same journey by public transport.
The hospital should tell you the mileage rate for petrol costs for private transport.
If public transport is unavailable or impractical (perhaps you can't get to your appointment on time or your mobility is restricted), you'll need to contact the hospital well ahead of your appointment. They will need to check your new travel arrangements are allowed.
If you're on the HS Low Income scheme you may get back all or some of your travel costs depending on which certificate you've been given.
How to claim
You can claim at the HS hospital or clinic at the time of your appointment. You'll be paid back immediately in cash, when you show any of the following:
- proof of a qualifying benefit (like an award notice)
- a tax credit exemption certificate (you'll get this automatically if you qualify)
- a certificate showing you qualify for the HS Low Income Support scheme
- Social Security / Jobs and Benefits Offices
- Charges and optical voucher values - DHSSPS Website (PDF 132 KB)
- Help with PDF files
What else you need to know
You can claim help with travel costs up to three months after your appointment, if you can prove you were eligible to claim at the time. To do this, you'll need to fill in a refund claim form (HC5), which you can get from:
- Health Service hospitals
- Social Security / Jobs and Benefits offices