Hospital Travel Costs Scheme
You may get financial help from the Hospital Travel Costs Scheme if you're on a low income, need Health Service treatment at a hospital, Health Service centre or private clinic and have been under the care of a consultant.
Who can claim
You can claim hospital travel costs 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 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 dependent child has to travel to your treatment with you for medical reasons, you can claim their travel costs too.
Help with health and travel costs
If you are claiming Universal Credit you may be able to get help with health and travel costs for you, your partner or your children. You may be able to get help with the cost of:
- dental treatment
- eye sight tests
- glasses or contact lenses
- travel for treatment on referral by a doctor or dentist
More information is available at Help with health costs
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 Health Service Low Income Support Scheme.
How much you'll get
If you're on a relevant benefit 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. For example, if 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 Health Service Low Income Support 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 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 (such as an award notice)
- a tax credit exemption certificate (you'll get this automatically if you qualify)
- a certificate showing you qualify for the Health Service Low Income Support Scheme
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, fill in a refund claim form HC5, which you can get from Health Service hospitals and Jobs and Benefits offices.