Am I being `thick` - ESA

Good evening to you all

Did you know that there are 2 levels of ESA?

I didnt!!!

To cut a long story short, today I received a £100 fine for not paying my dental fees.

In Nov 15, I arrived for my appointment and was asked if I paid for treatment, I said that I didn’t know because I was in receipt of ESA. The receptionist read my letter from the DWP and said no thats fine, no charge`. That was a pleasant surprise!

Today (8/1/16), I receive a letter stating that due to non payment of my dental treatment I was being fined £100 + the £51. 30 dental fees

After today, I am concerned that I am going t be fined for non payment for my MS prescription, which is Baclofen. As before the pharmacy that I use, read my letter from the DWP and said the same as my dentist receptionist thats fine, no charge.

I have never claimed benefits until now,( I had to retire from my job after 18 yrs service in the public sector) and I feel that people think that Im a scrounger!

I am happy to pay my way, I don’t want to be accused of committing FRAUD. Which I feel is happening now.

MS has made my simple, happy life so complicated which is hard enough. I just wish that essential services understood the impact that certain conditions/diseases have on people.

I now feel that the society does`nt care!!!

Sorry to ramble on, but i`m having a S**t day


1 Like

Hi Blaze - I’m afraid I haven’t got an answer for you but that sounds completely unfair!! It’s worth sending it back / phoning and asking them to explain exactly what they mean. I’d be bloomin’ furious to be ‘fined’ for something I didn’t know I’d done - not acceptable :confused:

I hope you have a happier day tomorrow - keep looking for the simple and happy - that is what matters xxx


I really like your avatar by the way!

1 Like

I suspect you’ve fallen foul of the 2 routes to ESA entitlement.

The first is contribution based ESA, this is where you’ve paid sufficient NI contributions in the 2 previous tax years. It’s not means tested and therefore does not act as a “passport” to free NHS prescriptions etc.

The second route is income based ESA, this is where you’ve not paid sufficient NI but your income and savings are low so you qualify on the grounds of means testing (ie, this is what you need versus this is what you have). This type of ESA acts as a “passport” to free NHS prescriptions, eye tests, and dentistry (among other things).

The other aspect of ESA of course depends on whether you fall into the ‘work’ or ‘support’ group. This is a different set of rules that are related to your level of disability / ability to work.

So when you told the dentist you receive ESA, neither they nor you considered whether you are receiving the means tested version of ESA.

I’ve just tried to find a definitive list of what you might be entitled to if you were receiving a benefit that acts as a benefit passport. It’s very difficult, I don’t know how you’re supposed to find out. I suppose if you receive one of the benefits that gives you such a benefit passport, you’d get details with your entitlement notification. The only place I found with a straightforward list is here: I don’t know who the site belongs to, it looks pretty accurate to me but I’m not an expert.

Hopefully this explains why it happened. I’m not sure what if anything you can do about it. Check your ESA notification to be sure which type you get. If you need further help, try the CAB. You may get more detailed information from the website.



I think you have to be in the income based ESA group to qualify for free dentistry and prescriptions. If you are on contribution based you would pay for dentistry and you would pay for prescriptions.

You could still get free prescription if your GP considers that you can’t go out alone ( it’s the discretionary box at the bottom of the prescription). Some GPs will do it for you because even if you are out, you have massive mobility problems, you may still go out on a scooter or wheelchair. Some GPs wouldn’t, even in the same practice. I’m not sure if they need to sign another form -I think they do, but I’m a bit unsure now as NHS send me a reminder and my practice renews it.


1 Like

Many thanks for your comments. I will have to do some homework and seek more advice.



The following NHS webpages may be of help.

"You are also entitled to free prescriptions if you or your partner (including civil partners) are named on, or are entitled to, an NHS tax credit exemption certificate or a valid HC2 certificate (full help with health costs), or you receive either:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Universal Credit and meet the criteria "

NHS Dental charges

You do not have to pay if, during the course of treatment, you or your partner, receive:

  • Income Support
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit guarantee credit
  • Universal Credit and meet the criteria


  • you are named on a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate or you are entitled to an NHS tax credit exemption certificate
  • you are named on a valid HC2 certificate

They also have a low income scheme, which offers partial help.

Hi I think this is not your fault, as the dental receptionist said you were exempt from payment. Not everyone knows about these things.

If you should have paid, then, as you say, you would.

If this was me I would go to the dentists and tell them whats happened.

Actually I`d be fuming!

I understand that rules are rules and have to be complied with BUT, you would expect the dental assistant to be able to tell you the right answer.


Thanks and yes Boudica, I was and am still fuming (that is being polite). O have spoken to the NHS who sent the fine but the person I spoke to, came across in a I don't give a toss fashion, the dentist receptionist had sloppy shoulder syndrome with her response of we just send the paperwork off.

I have written to the NHS dental people amd asked them to revoke the fine on this occasion due to the duff information that I received. Watch this space!!!

I will update this post when I get an answer but I`m not holding my breath. I will also look at the NHS Website, which Lenny has suggested.

Thanks again to all who responded.


I do hope that an exchange of correspondence will sort out what has obviously been an innocent misunderstanding. I had a good experience when I phoned up in a dither, having just realised that my prescription pre-payment certificate had run out two months previously - the chap I spoke to said ‘no problem’ and it was set straight with no difficulty or penalty. I hope it is the same for you.

It is upsetting when these things happen, but happen they do. Try not to let it get you down (and don’t be tempted to let yourself wonder why on earth you bothered working for a living because that way madness lies…)


1 Like

For those people who claim contribution based ESA or are not claiming any benefits there can still be a way to get help with NHS dental and prescription costs.

The NHS Low Income Scheme:

You can apply for the scheme as long as your savings, investments or property (not counting the place where you live) don’t exceed the capital limit. In England, the limit is:

  • £23,250 for people who live permanently in a care home
  • £16,000 for everyone else

Any help you’re entitled to is also available to your partner and any dependent young people.

How to apply

Depending on your circumstances, you can receive “full help” (HC2 certificate) or “partial help” (HC3 certificate). You will qualify for full help if your income is less than or equal to your requirements, or is greater than your requirements by no more than half the current English prescription charge. If your income exceeds this limit, you may be entitled to partial help. Your certificate will show how much you have to pay towards your health costs.

The rules governing who is eligible are broadly the same as those for a means-tested benefit. However, the assessment also takes into account council tax and housing costs, so you can get help with health costs even if your income is too high for a means-tested benefit.

To apply for your certificate, you’ll need to complete an HC1 form and return it in the envelope provided.

Good afternoon to everyone.

As I said, I will keep you posted.

The £100 has been revoked due to being misinformed by others and like I said I was happy to pay my bill, which I have.

Hope you all have a good day or the best you can have.




1 Like

Exactly the same thing happened to me last year. Exactly. Worked for NHS for 20 years, had filling at dentist and showed them my ESA paperwork, was told I didn’t have to pay, then received letter from DWP fining me £100 for not paying at the dentist. Had some shouting match phone calls with the inhuman sh&t staff at DWP but finally paid because they threatened legal action.

Evil tossers.

If you fill out a HC1form because of low income you will notice on the first page that you can claim for any bills you have already paid. If you are entitled you will receive a HC2 form which entitles you to full help as long as you fill it in every year