Can I get help with prescription costs?
Depending on your circumstances, you could get free prescriptions or help with prescription costs. You can check if you can get help with prescription costs on the NHS website. It should only take a few minutes to check.
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 online, or you can call the order line on 0300 330 1341.
Can I get help with heating costs?
If you live with a lung condition, you’ll know how important it is to stay warm in the winter. Here is the support available if you need to stay warm:
What are warm hubs?
Warm hubs are heated areas that some local councils have set up in public buildings, like libraries and community centres. You can spend time in these areas for free to keep warm and meet other people in your local community.
Find warm hubs near you.
Your local council can give you more information about Warm Hubs.
Cold weather payments
Cold weather payments are only paid when the average temperature in your area falls to 0 degrees Celsius or below for a period of seven consecutive days between 1 November and 31 March.
These payments are usually made to people on the following benefits:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
- Support for Mortgage Interest
The government have more information about cold weather payments.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
The Warm Home Discount Scheme is run with electricity providers and gives a one-off discount on your winter electricity bill. If you qualify for the discount, you’ll get a letter by early January 2024.
The money will not be paid directly to you. If you’re eligible, your electricity supplier will apply the discount to your bill between October 2023 and March 2024.
The Warm Home Discount Scheme is available in England, Scotland and Wales. There are different ways to qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme depending on where you live. Find out if you are eligible on the government website.
What is the Priority Services Register?
The Priority Services Register is a support service for people who may be more vulnerable. All energy suppliers offer it. You can contact your energy supplier to get on the register.
You will be eligible for extra support from your energy supplier if you:
- are 65 or older
- are disabled or have a long-term medical condition – this includes if you have medical equipment to run in your home, such as oxygen concentrators, CPAP machines, or nebulisers
- are recovering from an injury
- have a hearing or sight condition
- have a mental health condition
- are pregnant or have young children
- need help with communicating (for example, if your first language is not English).
Being on the Priority Services Register means:
- you’ll be told about planned power cuts
- you’ll get priority support in an emergency. For example, your supplier may provide heating and cooking facilities if your power is cut off
- you can get help with taking meter readings
- you can ask for information in different formats, such as large print or braille.
You may also be eligible for free gas safety checks.
Prepayment meters (PPMs)
Prepayment Meters (PPMs) must be topped up, which means paying for the energy you use in advance. Although UK energy suppliers can install PPMs without your permission, they can’t do this if you’re considered high-risk. You are considered high-risk if:
- your medication needs to be refrigerated
- you depend on carelines and wellbeing alarms
- you have a chronic, severe or terminal health condition
- your home needs to be kept warm because of your condition
- you are over the age of 85 and have no household support
- you rely on electric medical equipment at home, such as ventilators and stair lifts.
Ofgem’s current guidance is unclear about which lung conditions make somebody high risk. We believe that everybody with a lung condition should be considered high risk. Asthma + Lung UK have written to Ofgem to ensure that nobody with a lung condition is disadvantaged by this policy.
Find out more about prepayment meters.
Help with heating in Wales
If you are eligible, the Nest scheme may be able to offer you free home energy efficiency improvements. This could include a new boiler, central heating, or insulation.
You could be eligible for free home energy efficiency improvements if you meet the following conditions:
- you own or privately rent your home
- your home is expensive to heat and is not energy efficient
- you or someone you live with receives a means-tested benefit, or has a chronic respiratory, circulatory, or mental health condition and an income below the threshold.
Help with heating in Scotland
The Scottish government has support for you if you have difficulty paying your fuel bills or keeping your home warm. Find out how you could get help with energy bills. You can also get help and support from Home Energy Scotland.
Help with heating in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland’s government has support for you if you have difficulty paying your fuel bills and want to make your home more efficient:
You can also contact the NI Energy advice line. They will tell you exactly what help you could be entitled to.
More help with heating costs
If you were born on or before 25 September 1957, you should get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically.
Citizens Advice has more information about what to do if you are struggling to pay your bills.
Money Saving Expert has helpful tips about saving energy in your home.
Can I get help buying food?
Eating a healthy diet is really important if you have a lung condition. There is help available if you’re struggling to pay for food.
Food banks are community organisations that help you if you cannot afford food or essential items. Your local council should be able to tell you about the different food banks in your area.
Many independent food banks are open to everybody in need and you do not need a referral to use their services. If your nearest food bank does ask for a referral, you can get one from a GP, social worker, or Citizens Advice.
You will receive a food parcel at the food bank. You can also access additional support, like debt advice, mental health support and benefits guidance.
Food waste apps
There are some apps aimed at reducing food waste where you can get free or very cheap food. Everybody can use these apps, they are not based on how much money you have.
On the Too Good To Go app, you can pick up ‘magic bags’ from a range of local restaurants, cafes, and bakeries. They usually cost between £2 and £4 and are filled with leftover food that is still good to eat.
You can also share groceries and household items with your neighbors on the app Olio. The app also has volunteers who collect food from supermarkets and cafes and give this out for free.
If you’re pregnant or caring for a child under four in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales, you might be able to join the Healthy Start scheme. This scheme gives parents money to buy milk, baby formula, vegetables, and vitamins.
In Scotland, there’s a similar scheme called Best Starts Foods Card for children under 3.
More help with food costs
Money Saving Expert has tips on how you can get more free or cheap food
Money Helper has information about eating healthy on a budget.
Some supermarkets are also offering discounts and free food to children and people over the age of 60.
Can I get financial help from my local council?
Your local council might help you pay for things like:
- your energy and water bills
- essential items, like clothing.
This help is known as 'welfare assistance' or the ‘Household Support Fund’. Every council runs a different scheme. You should ask your local council what you are entitled to.
You do not have to be getting benefits to get help from your local council. If you do get benefits, they should not be affected by any help you get from your local council.
Find out how to contact your local council.
Council Tax Reduction
Council Tax Reduction is a benefit which helps you pay your council tax. You could be eligible if you’re on a low income or claim other benefits. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.
If you live in England, Wales, or Scotland you can
Your lung condition might affect how you travel. You could get help with the cost of transport.
Public transport discounts
If your lung condition makes it hard for you to get around, you can apply for discounts on public transport. You could get free travel on buses and a 30% discount on train tickets.
Citizens Advice has more information on public transport discounts.
Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)
If you’re given a referral for NHS specialist treatment or tests from your healthcare professional, you may be able to claim a refund for your travel costs under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS).
Find out if you are eligible for the HTCS.
Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) discounts and exemptions
If you are an NHS patient and you are too ill, week or disabled to travel to an appointment on public transport, you may be eligible to claim back the ULEZ charge and Congestion Charge. Your hospital can tell you if you are eligible.
Transport for London are also offering temporary ULEZ exemptions to people with wheelchair accessible vehicles and people who receive certain disability benefits.
Transport for London have more information about ULEZ discounts and exemptions.
Charitable grants are there to help and do not have to be paid back. You can normally get help from charitable grants even if you aren’t eligible for welfare benefits.
Use Turn2Us’s website to search for charitable grants.