It is recommended to have an eye exam after every 2 years. With a sharp rise in the need for eye exams, glasses and contact lenses in younger children and teenagers, this becomes an added health cost challenge for individuals on low incomes. This blog post aims to share the details of the NHS-Specsavers partnership for Universal Credit claimants under which NHS funded eye exams can be availed. Readers will also benefit from the knowledge of additional benefits that Universal Credit claimants receive, the eligibility criteria and circumstances that may affect their eligibility.

Can I Get Specsavers Discount On Universal Credit?

You can get an NHS funded eye test and free glasses (if you are entitled to a full NHS optical voucher) at Specsavers if you are on Universal credit and fulfil any of the following conditions:

  • Aged 0-15 and registered as partially sighted or blind
  • Aged 16, 17 or 18, currently in full-time education and diagnosed with either diabetes or glaucoma

In case you are older and fulfil the below conditions you can still avail of the NHS funded eye test (usually charged at a price between £20-£25) at Specsavers:

  • Aged 40 or above, your parents, siblings or children have been diagnosed with glaucoma
  • Aged 60 or above and advised by an ophthalmologist of being at risk of glaucoma
  • A prisoner or prisoner on leave
  • Eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher (an opthalmologist will confirm this)

Asides from Universal Credit, if you or your partner receive any of the following benefits or you are under the age of 20 and dependant on anyone receiving these benefits, you can claim NHS funded eye care:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit

However, you may not be able to avail of an NHS funded eye test if you are on any of the following benefits but do not claim Universal Credit:

  • Child Benefit
  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Maternity Benefit
  • Pension Credit Savings Credit on its own
  • Tax Credit without an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate

Can Universal Credit Help With Health Costs?

Yes, you may be eligible for health costs to be covered by the NHS if you are on Universal Credit and fulfil the below criteria:

  • you have either no earnings or earnings less than £435 as per your most recent assessment for Universal Credit; or
  • your Universal Credit claim includes an element for a child or you (or your partner) with limited capability for work (LCW) or limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) and your earnings are less than £935 as per your most recent assessment for Universal Credit.

Your benefit claim for Universal Credit makes you eligible for the following health costs:

  • Free prescriptions
  • Dental treatment
  • Sight tests
  • Glasses and contact lenses
  • Essential travel costs
  • Wigs and fabric support

If you are not eligible for benefits but are on low income, you may be able to avail of discounts for healthcare costs under the NHS low-income scheme.

What Is Classed As Low Income?

Households in the UK are classified as being on low income if they live on less than 60 per cent of the median net disposable income earned. As per recent data gathered and analysed by the Department for Work and Pensions People in low-income households – GOV.UK Ethnicity facts and figures a household with a couple having no children would be considered to be in low income if their annual household income is less than £17,100 BHC (before housing costs) and £14,800 AHC (after housing costs). The median income for the term 2019-2020 has been taken as £547 per week; while 60 per cent of the median income mark falls at £328 during the last fiscal. This means that any household with a combined income of less than £328 is considered to be on low income.

What Is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a state benefit for UK citizens above the age of 18 and below state pension age. It aims to provide financial assistance to individuals who are either out of work or on a low income. It is a monthly payment that claimants receive to help them to cover living costs.

Universal Credit has replaced six benefits, referred to as the “legacy benefits” by serving a single payment for households and helping them meet housing and childcare costs. These include:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Additionally, it provides support for health conditions, disabilities or the role of a carer that prevent claimants from working full time or working at all.

Who Is Eligible For Universal Credit?

To qualify for Universal Credit, claimants must be able to fulfil the below eligibility criteria:

  • aged between 18 (in some cases it may be 16 or 17) and state pension age
  • unemployed or on low income
  • between the claimant and their partner, total savings are less than £6,000
  • experiencing high costs for child care
  • suffering from a disability or health condition
  • caring for someone else

The amount of Universal Credit that an individual receives depends on their personal circumstances and income (if any). For instance, someone who is single and younger than 25 years of age will be eligible for Universal Credit amounting to around £257 per month. Meanwhile, this amount will rise to around £509 for someone who is living with a partner and either one of them or both of them are above the age of 25.

Which Change In Circumstances Affect Universal Credit?

Certain changes in your circumstances can bear an impact on the benefits you receive including Universal Credit. If you hide such facts from the authorities with the intention to avoid a reduction in your benefits, you may be penalised or taken to court. Therefore, it is advisable if you face any of the following situations, you must inform the relevant authorities by signing in to your Universal Credit account

  • a new mobile number, postal or email address
  • a change in your bank details
  • change of residence due to moving in with a partner
  • having a child
  • changes to your health condition
  • being unable to work due to an illness
  • starting to care for a child or disabled person
  • finding or finishing a job
  • changes to your earnings, savings, investments
  • changes to rental payments
  • changes to your immigration status (in case you’re not a British citizen)

What Counts As Income For Universal Credit?

During your benefits calculation by the DWP, not only is your job-related income(s) taken into account, but the authorities will also consider unearned incomes. These are incomes that individuals receive without having to work.  

Unearned incomes that affect your Universal Credit payments include the following:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (new style)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (new style)
  • Pension Income
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • State benefits that aren’t replaced by Universal Credit

For every £1 earned through any of the above means, £1 will be reduced from your Universal Credit payments.

However, the following unearned incomes do not count towards Universal Credit calculations:

  • Child Benefit
  • Child Maintenance Payments
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Income From Boarders And Lodgers.

When Do I Tell Universal Credit I Have A Job?

You should inform the Department for Work and Pensions immediately when you have a job, an increase in pay or any other change in circumstances that affect your eligibility criteria or the scale of payments that you receive in the form of Universal Credit (or any other state benefit). 

In case of finding a job, you are required to provide the below information to the DWP:

  • who your employer is 
  • the date when the job will start 
  • the date by when your pay will increase

It must be kept in view that your Universal Credit payment does not automatically stop when you get a job. You will continue to receive the benefit, however, the amount will be reduced depending on your wages. If you lose your job due to any valid reason(s), you will be able to reclaim your previous Universal Credit amount.

Conclusion:

There are many additional benefits for Universal Credit claimants as they get NHS funding for a range of health-related costs. These include NHS funded eye tests and even free glasses for some who qualify but can’t afford them due to low income. In addition to this, individuals on Universal Credit may be able to qualify for additional health care costs to be covered and those who don’t qualify for the benefit can avail of their low-income scheme for discounted health cost payments. However, it is essential for claimants to inform the DWP once their earnings exceed the eligibility criteria for Universal Credit so that they are not found guilty of claim fraud. 

FAQs: Can I Get Specsavers Discount On Universal Credit?

Do u get free glasses on universal credit?

Anyone aged 0-15 and registered as partially sighted or blind or aged 16, 17 or 18, currently in full-time education and diagnosed with either diabetes or glaucoma can get free glasses on Universal Credit. Additionally, you may be eligible for health costs to be covered by the NHS if you are on Universal Credit and either you have either no earnings or earnings less than £435; or your Universal Credit claim includes an element for a child or you (or your partner) with limited capability for work (LCW) or limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA) and your earnings are less than £935.

Does Specsavers do NHS discount?

NHS staff does not qualify for discounts at Specsavers. However, there are many health costs funded by the NHS and provided by Specsavers for individuals claiming Universal Credit or on low incomes.

Does Specsavers do monthly payments?

Yes, Specsavers offers a monthly direct debit scheme, payment and future payments plans but only through approved payment platforms.

How can I get free glasses?

Anyone aged 0-15 and registered as partially sighted or blind or aged 16, 17 or 18, currently in full-time education and diagnosed with either diabetes or glaucoma can get free glasses on Universal Credit. If you are not eligible for this benefit, you may be able to avail of the low-income scheme under the NHS.

Do you have to pay for replacement glasses Specsavers?

No, Specsavers currently offers a free of charge replacement for glasses. Additionally, if you are an easy-care customer with Specsavers, you are entitled to a free replacement of lenses in a year.

References:

NHS-funded Eye Tests | Specsavers UK

Free NHS eye tests and optical vouchers

Am I entitled to a free eye test and NHS optical vouchers?

Patients eligible for free NHS sight tests

Is NHS Glasses Voucher Worthy and What’s the Eligibility Criteria?

Help with health costs – Citizens Advice

Universal Credit: Report a change of circumstances – GOV.UK

Getting a job and Universal Credit

Understanding Universal Credit – How earnings affect Universal Credit

Universal credit and you

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