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Welfare benefits when living with a lung condition

Additional benefits

There are a number of additional benefits that could help you if you have a low income. These benefits can be very helpful if your long-term lung condition limits your income. 

On this page:

You can also read about help with heating costs.

Use an independent benefits calculator to find out what benefits you could get, how to claim and how your benefits will be affected if you start work.

Help with prescription costs

You do not have to pay NHS prescription charges in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In England if you are under 16, or under 19 and in full time education, or over 60, you are automatically entitled to free prescriptions. 

You may also get free prescriptions if you have a medical exemption certificate because you:

  • are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months 
  • are a war pensioner being treated for your accepted disability
  • are being treated for tuberculosis (TB), cancer, the effects of cancer or the effects of cancer treatment 
  • have a specified physical disability that prevents you from leaving home without the help of another person.

Check to see what help you could get to pay for NHS costs, including prescriptions.

If you have a low income, you may qualify for the NHS Low Income Scheme. Find out more on the NHS website.

Prepayment certificates (PPC) 

You can save money by buying a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC). Once you have a PPC, all your prescriptions will be covered during its time period, no matter how many you need. There are two options to choose from: 

  • A three-month PPC. This will save you money if you normally order more than three prescriptions in three months. 
  • A 12-month PPC. This will save you money if you normally order more than 11 prescriptions in a year. 

You can buy a PPC on the NHS website, or you can call the order line on 0300 330 1341.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment that is meant to help with living costs for those who have a low income or are out of work. 

Universal Credit is one benefit that replaces child tax credit, working tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income related JSA and income related ESA.

The amount you’ll get depends on your circumstances and income. Find out whether you could be eligible for Universal Credit by using Citizens Advice eligibility checker.

If you need help whilst waiting for benefits to start

If you’re waiting for benefit payments to start, you might be able to get your benefit paid early. Citizens Advice has more information on how your local council might be able to help you with living costs if you’re waiting for benefits to start, and gov.uk has information on advanced payments whilst waiting for Universal Credit.

Income support 

Income Support can help you cover costs if you’re on a low income. Universal Credit has replaced Income Support for most people. 

For more information on Income Support, take a look at the gov.uk website or Citizen’s Advice.

Tax Credits

There are two types of Tax Credits, both of which are means-tested:

  • Child Tax Credit - payable to anyone who has any children, depending on household income.
  • Working Tax Credit - payable to anyone in low-paid work.

You cannot claim Universal Credit and Tax Credits at the same time. Read more about how tax credits and other benefits affect each other.

Pension Credit

If you’re over the state pension age and on a low income, you may be able to get Pension Credit to help with living costs. 

What you’ll get 

  • Guarantee Credit - which tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed level. If you get Guarantee Credit, you may also qualify for the Warm Home Discount. Our page about help with heating costs has more information about the Warm Home Discount. 
  • Savings Credit - for people who are over 65 and have saved some money towards their retirement. If you reached state pension age on or after 6 April 2016, you won’t be eligible for savings credit.

The new State Pension

The new State Pension is a regular payment you can claim if you reach state pension age on or after 6 April 2016. You won’t get the pension automatically; you need to claim it. You should get a letter no later than two months before you reach state pension age telling you what to do. The quickest way to get your State Pension is to apply online.

Housing Benefit 

You could get Housing Benefit to help pay your rent if you’re on a low income, unemployed or claiming benefits. It’s being replaced by Universal Credit. You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if either of the following apply: 

  • you have reached state pension age
  • you’re in support, sheltered or temporary housing 

For more information on Housing Benefit, go to the gov.uk website or the Citizen’s Advice website.

If you can’t claim Housing Benefit, you might be able to get help with other housing costs. If not, you may be able to claim Universal Credit instead. Use a benefits calculator to see what you might be entitled to.

Council Tax Reduction

Council Tax Reduction is a means-tested benefit which helps you to pay your council tax. You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working. 

Your lung condition may change, so you should review your situation regularly to ensure you’re claiming everything that you are entitled to.  

Next: Help with heating costs

Download our welfare benefits information (314kb)

We use your comments to improve our information. We cannot reply to comments left on this form. If you have health concerns or need clinical advice, call our helpline on 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.