Some people with asthma, or any long-term health condition, worry about the costs of prescriptions, travel to and from hospital or time off work. This may be even more of a concern if:
- you use more than one medicine regularly
- you have more than one health condition
- there are several people in your household with asthma
- you have a diagnosis of severe asthma and need frequent hospital visits or time off work
- you're on a low income or you receive benefits
On this page:
- Prescription charges
- Help with health costs
- Sick pay if you need time off work
- Disability Living Allowance
- Financial support for carers
- Financial support at university
- Other financial support
If you live in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, you don't have to pay prescription charges. Many people with asthma qualify for free prescriptions in England but if you don't qualify, and if you have to collect more than one item a month, it can save you money if you get a Pre-Payment Certificate.
If you're struggling financially, you may be able to get help with some health costs, including travel to hospital. This help is generally possible if you're on a low income or get:
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income Support
- the guarantee part of Pension Credit
- are named on or entitled to an NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate
- Universal Credit
To find out more, visit the GOV.UK website.
If you need time off work because of your asthma, your workplace should have a policy to cover this, or you may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (also known as SSP).
You can only make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance if you're claiming for a child under 16 - this is known as DLA for children.
You can continue to get DLA if you were born on or before 8 April 1948 and you're eligible. If you were born after that, use the PIP checker to find out if and when you're affected by PIP. You may be able to make a new claim if you're over 65.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is replacing Disability Living Allowance for people with a long-term health condition or disability aged 16 to 64. Anyone over 16 must apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead of DLA.
If you're caring for somebody with asthma, it's important to make sure you're getting the right benefits. The main benefit for carers is carers allowance. This is a benefit for someone aged 16 or over who spends at least 35 hours a week caring for a person who already gets benefits. You don't have to live together or be related to the person you care for.
If you need help with your caring role and want to talk to someone about what options are available to you, call:
- Carers UK Advice line on 0808 808 7777 or find them at carersuk.org
- Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053
You may worry about affording asthma medicine prescriptions or travel to and from hospitals when you're a student and might not have much money. The good news is there's lots of support available so that you can make sure your asthma's well managed without having to worry about your finances meaning you can get on with enjoying your time at uni.
Like anyone, you can save money if you need more than one prescription a month with a pre-payment certificate. You might also be able to get:
Disabled Students' Allowances
A Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) can give you extra financial help if you want to go to university and have an ongoing health condition like asthma.
You don't need to pay it back and the amount you get doesn't depend on your household income. Instead, it depends on the help you need. A lot of people with asthma don't realise they may be eligible to apply for a DSA.
- For England - Directgov website
- For Northern Ireland - Student Finance Northern Ireland
- For Scotland - Student Award Agency for Scotland
- For Wales - Student Finance Wales
Low Income Scheme - HC1 forms
Some students may be able to get help with NHS costs and prescriptions through the NHS Low Income Scheme. This means you may get a large discount on your prescriptions or you may even get them free, depending on what sources of income you have (taking into account your student loan). You'll need to complete the NHS HC1 claim form. You can request one by calling 0845 850 1166 or order online on the NHS Business Services Authority website.
Our information doesn't cover all the details about the benefits you may be able to claim. For more information:
- visit GOV.UK
- call or write to the Disability Benefits Centre
- speak to somebody in person at your local Citizens Advice Bureau
- call our asthma nurse specialists on our Helpline - 0300 222 5800 (9am - 5pm; Mon - Fri)
If you have severe asthma, you may also want to find out more about the following benefits:
Blue Badge Scheme
If you've been diagnosed with severe asthma and can't walk for long distances or use public transport because you have difficulty breathing you may be able to get a Blue Badge. The badge enables holders (drivers or passengers) to park close to where they need to go, free of charge and with no time limit, in disabled bays in streets and car parks. Badge holders can also park on yellow lines for up to three hours, unless a ban on loading or unloading is in force.
Community Care Grant
You can no longer apply for a Community Care Grant in England, Scotland or Wales. You can still apply for a Community Care Grant if you live in Northern Ireland.
Cold Weather Payment
Although this isn't strictly a health-related benefit it's worth knowing if you're eligible especially as cold can be a trigger for some people with asthma, which means you need to heat your home to stay well. You may get Cold Weather Payments if you're getting:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit
Help with travel costs
If your asthma is so severe that it prevents you from walking, you may be entitled to free or discounted bus and rail travel. Find out more:
If you find it difficult to use public transport and/or you use a wheelchair, it's worth finding out if there are community transport services, such as Dial-a-Ride, in your area.
Last updated August 2015