NHS HC3 Certificate

Alexandre Desoutter Alexandre Desoutter  updated on September 30, 2020

You might be entitled to get partial help with your healthcare costs that you need to pay towards the NHS? You do not know what you are eligible to or how to apply?

We will explain everything you need to know about the HC3 form in this guide.

Let’s dive in!

What is a HC3 certificate?

A HC3 form is a certificate delivered by the NHS allowing you to get partial help with your healthcare expenses.

In the UK, the National Health System (NHS) pays for almost any healthcare and for any UK resident. However, some healthcare charges such as optical care, dental care, prescription or wigs and fabric support still need to be paid by patients. For people with low income, the NHS implemented a specific scheme allowing them to get full (HC2 certificate) or partial (HC3 certificate) help for those healthcare expenses not covered by the system.

You can’t get HC3 certificate without filling in first a HC1 Low Income Scheme application form.

hc1 help with healthcare costs

Who can apply for a HC3 certificate?

You can be entitled to get partial help with your healthcare costs if your savings, property (excluding your permanent address), investments do not exceed:

  • £23,250 if you live in care home permanently; or
  • £16,000.

Your dependent children or partner will also be entitled to get the same help.

How to get a HC3 certificate?

To get a HC3 certificate, you must apply for the HC1 Low Income Scheme at the NHS.

You will find everything you need to know about the HC1 application form here.

Once filled in and sent, the NHS will decide whether you are entitled to get partial (HC3 certificate) or full help (HC2 certificate) with your healthcare costs.

What can I get with HC3 certificate?

With a HC3 form, you will get, as long as you go through the NHS (and not private healthcare system), help with the following healthcare costs:

  • dental treatment
  • optical care
  • wigs and fabric support
  • travel expenses to receive treatment.

You may be entitled to get a glasses or contact lens vouchers depending on your sight test.

What if my HC3 certificate expires?

Each HC3 form has an expiry date. Once expired, you must apply for a new one filling in the HC1 Low Income Scheme form from the NHS.

If you claim on your healthcare expenses but your certificate has expired, then you might need to pay a £100 penalty.

What if I lose or damage my HC3 certificate?

You can ask for a new one and the NHS will send it to you within 10 working days.

You can contact the NHS either through their online form or by phone at the number 0300 330 1343. Lines are opened from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and Saturday, 9am to 3pm.

You can also contact them by mail at the address: NHS Help with Health Costs, NHS Business Services Authority, Bridge House, 152 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6SN.

Can I still use my HC3 form if my financial situation has changed?

Yes, until it expires. Afterwards, you will need to apply again using the HC1 form and see if you are still entitled to get NHS help with your new financial situation.

How to contact the NHS to get HC3 certificate?

You can contact the NHS either:

  • by phone: 0300 330 1343
  • online through the contact form
  • by mail: NHS Help with Health Costs, NHS Business Services Authority, Bridge House, 152 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6SN.

What is the difference between a HC3 form and a HC3 certificate?

Both terms basically refer to the same thing. You normally apply to receiving a HC3 certificate after you have filled in and sent to the NHS the HC1 form.

What is the difference between the HC2 certificate and the HC3 certificate?

Both certificates are delivered after applying to the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS) through the HC1 form. The difference them is just about the level of coverage:

  • A HC2 certificate means you will receive full help.
  • A HC3 certificate means you will receive partial help.

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