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Am I entitled to free NHS dental treatment ?

You can get free NHS dental treatment if:

when the treatment starts you are:

* Aged under 18
* Aged 18 and in full-time education
* Pregnant, or have had a baby in the 12 months before treatment starts
* An NHS in-patient and the treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist
* An NHS Hospital Dental Service out-patient*
* A Community Dental Service patient*

* There may be a charge for dentures and bridges.

when the treatment starts or when the charge is made:

You are getting, or your partner gets: Income Support Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (Incapacity Benefit or Disability Living Allowance do not count as they are not income-related)Pension Credit Guarantee CreditYou are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificateYou are named on a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)

Partial help: if you are named on a valid HC3 certificate you might get some help towards the cost of your NHS dental treatment.

You are not entitled to free NHS dental treatment if you receive Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Pension Credit Savings Credit.

The Benefit Enquiry Line is a telephone advice line offering general confidential information to people with disabilities, carers and representatives, about benefits that are available. You can ring the Benefit Enquiry line on 0800 882200.

For further information about credits call the Tax Credit helpline on 0845 300 3900 during working hours.

Remember to tell the dentist or the receptionist as early as possible that you are entitled to free treatment. You will be asked to provide evidence of your entitlement so make sure that you take some evidence with you.

Anyone who is on a low income may be eligible for free NHS treatment or may only need to pay a reduced amount under the NHS Low Income Scheme. If you feel that you may be entitled to help, pick up a HC1 form 'Claim for Help with Health Costs' from a Social Security office or NHS hospital. Your dentist might have one too. The HC1 form tells you what to do to claim and where to send it. Normally you will be sent a certificate showing how much help you can get. More information on help with NHS charges is available from the Department of Health website.

If you have already paid your dentist and think you are entitled to a refund, ask your local Social Security office for form HC5 'Refund Claim Form'. Your dentist might have one too. The form tells you what to do. You will need to send a receipt to show that you have paid for NHS treatment and claims must be received within three months of paying for the health cost. Your dentist will not be able to give you a refund directly.

If you have any queries about completing these forms, call the Prescription Pricing Authority's Health Benefits Division Customer Enquiry line on 0191 203 5555, or write to them at Bridge House, 152 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6SN.

For more information, download the HC11 leaflet 'Are You Entitled To Help with Health Costs' from the Department of Health website. The leaflet is also available from main post offices.




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