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  • FIRST POST
    METAL MICKEY
    A warning - tax credits and claiming free nhs dental treatments
    • #1
    • 22nd Jul 12, 4:27 PM
    A warning - tax credits and claiming free nhs dental treatments 22nd Jul 12 at 4:27 PM
    Please do make sure you hold the little white and blue NHS branded card which is misleadingly called a Tax Credit Exemption Certificate. Most people may wrongly assume that a 'certificate' is an A4 piece of paper and therefore they believe their normal WTC/CTC is proof of entitlement to free treatment.

    If you are on tax credits you have to meet certain conditions to be entitled to the little white card and HMRC will automatically send you one and any partner who was included in your claim.

    Too many dental staff do not know the above and give poor advice. And too few patients read carefully the form you sign at the surgery. Because of this thousands of people are asked to pay retrospective NHS dental charges plus a 100 fine!

    The NHSBSA in eastbourne will not let you off if you plead an innocent mistake or tthat you were wrongly advised.
Page 1
  • Poppy9
    • #2
    • 22nd Jul 12, 4:35 PM
    • #2
    • 22nd Jul 12, 4:35 PM
    OH was wrongly advised by dental practise that he didn't have to pay for dental care as he gets ESA and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. I wasn't convinced though and rang to check as I guessed that as he was on contribution based ESA not income related then he probably entitled to nothing.

    Very helpful lady confirmed he was not entitled and told him to go back to dentist to pay and gave a contact phone number for the surgery to contact if they were unsure of how to process the payment.
    ~Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.~
  • no-oneknowsme
    • #3
    • 22nd Jul 12, 5:52 PM
    • #3
    • 22nd Jul 12, 5:52 PM
    This post made me think back to the time when myself and my Hubby first became eligible for tax credits.

    Hubby had an appointment with his dentist and whilst Hubby was lying back in the chair with his mouth wide open (lol) the dentist started to tell him that he needed some extensive work dont to his teeth.

    The dentist asked Hubby "do you get tax credits?" Hubby replied , "yeah the wife does" to which the dentist replied "ok then that automaically means that you qualify for free dental treatment".

    Hubby was over the moon with this (at this point in time Hubby didnt have a clue about tax credits/free treatment etc).

    Dentist sets to work with the treatment and at the end of the session the dentist gives Hubby several further appointments to come back to get the next stages of the treatment.

    Hubby comes home and tells me that we now qualify for free dental treatment as we are receiving tax credits. I ask him is he sure and he says "yeah , the dentist told me that as long as you are receipt of tax credits then all treatment is free!".

    over time Hubby finishes with the expensive dental work and the bill - if he had to pay it would have run to almost 300.

    5 months later I open a letter received in the post for Hubby and its only a letter from some official dept to say that following random checks on patients who have received free dental treatment it had been found that Hubby had wrongly claimed free nhs treatment when infact he wasnt entitled!

    I called the number on the letter and spoke to a nice understanding lady who informed me that tax credits do not AUTOMATICALLY entitle the claimant to free treatment. This was only available to those claimants whos income was below a certain level.

    I assured her that we genuinly had not known this and that Hubby had only gone on the assurance of the dental practise.

    Fortunately we were able to arrange a payment plan and we paid the full amount back.

    Just proves that as the OP states you cannot trust the word of the dentist to know who should be paying and who shouldnt lol.
    The loopy one has gone
  • SuziQ
    • #4
    • 23rd Jul 12, 3:46 PM
    • #4
    • 23rd Jul 12, 3:46 PM
    My surgery told me I was automatically entitled as I get Income support, however I have not received the card described here and I believe that is due to the fact I get other benefits (Carers allowance) I get reduced Income support because of the CA. I have been lucky not to have needed any treatment except inspections since I have been on benefits and have always paid for them, despite the vociferous attempts by the Dental receptionist to sign that I am entitled to free treatment!

    I think this is one of those areas that a lot of people fall foul of. I get free prescriptions as I had cancer 3 years ago, and the receptionist even pointed that card out as proof to me, even though it clearly states it's for prescriptions!
    Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it!
  • mynameistallulah
    • #5
    • 23rd Jul 12, 4:05 PM
    • #5
    • 23rd Jul 12, 4:05 PM
    My surgery told me I was automatically entitled as I get Income support, however I have not received the card described here and I believe that is due to the fact I get other benefits (Carers allowance) I get reduced Income support because of the CA. I have been lucky not to have needed any treatment except inspections since I have been on benefits and have always paid for them, despite the vociferous attempts by the Dental receptionist to sign that I am entitled to free treatment!

    I think this is one of those areas that a lot of people fall foul of. I get free prescriptions as I had cancer 3 years ago, and the receptionist even pointed that card out as proof to me, even though it clearly states it's for prescriptions!
    Originally posted by SuziQ
    You do not get an exemption card if you are in receipt of IS - you need to take proof of your IS entitlement with you.
  • SuziQ
    • #6
    • 23rd Jul 12, 6:30 PM
    • #6
    • 23rd Jul 12, 6:30 PM
    You do not get an exemption card if you are in receipt of IS - you need to take proof of your IS entitlement with you.
    Originally posted by mynameistallulah

    When I have asked CTC I have been told my income is too high to be exempt for Dental treatment, though. Maybe this is due to my son getting DLA so that I get higher tax credits? As I said I have paid for my own inspections, and am very lucky that I didn't need any other treatment. I do know my NHS dentist allows people to pay their bills off over a period of time, they are excellent like that.
    Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it!
  • Two4Tuesday
    • #7
    • 23rd Jul 12, 6:58 PM
    • #7
    • 23rd Jul 12, 6:58 PM
    What happens if you get the Tax credits exemption certificate but your income grows too high and your tax credits then eventually stop on renewal?

    For example, I received working tax credits in 2011/12 because of a very low income in 2010/11, but by April 2012 my income was 27000. With the tax credits 10K disregard, I would still be entitled to some working tax credits.

    I completed my renewal as soon as I received it, declaring the income of 27000 for 2011/12. My tax credits for 2012/13 have now stopped and I accept that I will likely have an overpayment to repay (depending on my final income for 2012/13)

    The thing is though, I still have a tax credits exemption certificate that was sent to me and is dated till June 2013. I haven't used it since my tax credits have stopped just in case but I wonder what the rules are with regard to this?
  • SuziQ
    • #8
    • 23rd Jul 12, 7:03 PM
    • #8
    • 23rd Jul 12, 7:03 PM
    I would think it is no longer valid. I don't know what happens if you have already used it at a point where your income became too high though.
    Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it!
  • mynameistallulah
    • #9
    • 23rd Jul 12, 7:07 PM
    • #9
    • 23rd Jul 12, 7:07 PM
    When I have asked CTC I have been told my income is too high to be exempt for Dental treatment, though. Maybe this is due to my son getting DLA so that I get higher tax credits? As I said I have paid for my own inspections, and am very lucky that I didn't need any other treatment. I do know my NHS dentist allows people to pay their bills off over a period of time, they are excellent like that.
    Originally posted by SuziQ
    You are asking the wrong people. Your entitlement is due to your IS, which is dealt with by the DWP, not your CTC, which is HMRC. IS is a passport benefit, even a 1p entitlement will result in you getting free dentistry.
  • METAL MICKEY
    You do not get an exemption card if you are in receipt of IS - you need to take proof of your IS entitlement with you.
    Originally posted by mynameistallulah
    Spot on! And now for really "clever" bit about the process of showing proof of your entitlement.

    When you attend an NHS dentist you are required to sign a little blue PR declaration form (non EDI dentists may as you to sign an A4 sized FP17). As part of that process ALL NHS surgery staff are supposed to ask you to show proof of your qualifying benefit and if you are unable to show them anything they are supposed to mark the front of the form with an X to indicate "Evidence Not Seen". The wonderful theory being that the NHSBSA in Eastbourne then sample more claims with an X.

    However, the really dumbass bit is that if you read the PR form small print it states that you and NOT the surgery are WHOLLY responsible for the exemption claim and that checks are in fact made in cases where "evidence" was seen.

    Therefore it could be argued that the whole process of asking for evidence is pretty worthless in respect of cases where people may be genuinely confused about their benefits and in reality it only acts as a real time deterrent for the 'chancer' trying to commit fraud who panics when asked to show some form of documentation. It could be argued that the wording of the PR form should almost read "please show the surgery evidence of WHAT YOU THINK is proof of you entitlement!

    And now its gets even trickier. If the front of an exemption claim PR form is not marked with an X at all there are two possible scenarios:

    a) They asked to see evidence and what you showed they readily accepted

    b) They did not bother to ask for any evidence whatsoever


    And should you receive a retrospective request to pay the NHS charges and the 100 Penalty charge, do not base any defence/appeal based on advice given by the surgery because you will have signed a form to acknowledge that you are wholly responsible for the accuracy of the benefit claim.

    The sample used by the NHSBSA is focussed on the largest category of exemption which is Income Support. The end result thus being that the most common fee/fine recovery scenario is where people on IB/DLA mistakenly believe that their benefit is the same as Income Support. And because of this sampling vast numbers of patients who are challenged are in vulnerable groups or with serious health issues hence why they are on IB/DLA in the first place.

    Thank god for the NHS and its concerted attempt to chase down the easy money rather than trying to focus on those deliberately committing benefit fraud
  • bestpud
    When I have asked CTC I have been told my income is too high to be exempt for Dental treatment, though. Maybe this is due to my son getting DLA so that I get higher tax credits? As I said I have paid for my own inspections, and am very lucky that I didn't need any other treatment. I do know my NHS dentist allows people to pay their bills off over a period of time, they are excellent like that.
    Originally posted by SuziQ
    I agree with Tallulah - you are entitled to free NHS dental care as IS is a passport benefit.

    You don't need the tax credit card as its irrelevant.

    1p of IS means automatic exemption, full HB etc
  • gardenia101
    I was misled by my dental practice - I needed a filling & other work (total cost 130) when I said I had a NHS TC Exemption Certificate. The receptionist told me that card only covered prescriptions & not the additional treatment, so I paid up assuming she knew the rules better than me (as she'd been there for years).

    Next appointment was 5 weeks later, so I gave in my card as they'd asked to see it. Then I was told that I had indeed been exempt from paying for the treatment I'd had (& paid for) but that it was now too late to do anything about it

    At least the receptionist had the grace to look flustered....

    I wrote to NHSBSA explaining my situation & amazingly they sent me a cheque for a refund. Maybe they'd had a few queries from that surgery! I was so glad, as thet bill had left me very short as the surgery wouldn't let me pay over a few weeks. Thank goodness for credit cards...
    And I find that looking back at you gives a better view, a better view...
  • METAL MICKEY
    I was misled by my dental practice - I needed a filling & other work (total cost 130) when I said I had a NHS TC Exemption Certificate. The receptionist told me that card only covered prescriptions & not the additional treatment, so I paid up assuming she knew the rules better than me (as she'd been there for years).

    Next appointment was 5 weeks later, so I gave in my card as they'd asked to see it. Then I was told that I had indeed been exempt from paying for the treatment I'd had (& paid for) but that it was now too late to do anything about it

    At least the receptionist had the grace to look flustered....

    I wrote to NHSBSA explaining my situation & amazingly they sent me a cheque for a refund. Maybe they'd had a few queries from that surgery! I was so glad, as thet bill had left me very short as the surgery wouldn't let me pay over a few weeks. Thank goodness for credit cards...
    Originally posted by gardenia101
    Good for you and you got the result in the end. Once again it highlights that mant staff don;t have a clue and from an official perpsective there is no incentive for them to be bothered. As irritating as it is the surgery followed correct procedure in not directly refunding you and thats why you had to forward your NHS receipt with the HC5 form.

    Your scenario is fairly common due a simple and yet easily rectifiable issue. Both the NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate and (TCEC) the Medical Exemption Certificate are very similar white credit card sized cards with the blue NHS branding. On closer examination each card to be fair does say what type of card it is but when it comes to a casual glance in th surgery as part of the flawed "evidence showing" process they look very similar.

    And this is the same benefits system that thought for OAP's it would be a good idea to have two types of Pension Credit, one called Pension Credit Savings Credit and one called Pension Credit Guarantee Credit with only the latter entitling you to claim free NHS dental treatment. Why not give them significantly different names? Compound this problem with many OAP's holding the Medex Certificate (which looks like the TCEC) and thereby falsely assuming that they are entitled because of free prescriptions and the sight tests they legitimately claim. The end result being many OAP's getting a rather scarey letter from Eastbourne asking for NHS charges plus a penalty charge. Fortunately, they don't chase anyone over 70.
  • METAL MICKEY
    I agree with Tallulah - you are entitled to free NHS dental care as IS is a passport benefit.

    You don't need the tax credit card as its irrelevant.

    1p of IS means automatic exemption, full HB etc
    Originally posted by bestpud
    Apologies if i have read this wrong but just to clarify. The poster who's son is in receipt of DLA is NOT entitled to claim free treatment on the basis of his receipt of the benefit. He can legitimately claim free treatment providing that he is 100% sure that within the DLA there is an element paid as income support. That often confusing factor should be directly clarified with DWP. If not confirmed anyone on DLA/IB or on the relatively new Conts Related ESA should apply for an HC2 Low Income Scheme certificate by completing an HC1 form.
  • bestpud
    Apologies if i have read this wrong but just to clarify. The poster who's son is in receipt of DLA is NOT entitled to claim free treatment on the basis of his receipt of the benefit. He can legitimately claim free treatment providing that he is 100% sure that within the DLA there is an element paid as income support. That often confusing factor should be directly clarified with DWP. If not confirmed anyone on DLA/IB or on the relatively new Conts Related ESA should apply for an HC2 Low Income Scheme certificate by completing an HC1 form.
    Originally posted by METAL MICKEY
    The poster receivers carers allowance which is topped up with income support.

    As far as I am aware, IS is paid separately from DLA as DLA is not means tested whereas IS is...? An IS claimant should have related paperwork.

    Anyone who receives IS is entitled to free NHS dental care and prescriptions. It is means tested and as such is a passport benefit.

    You are talking about benefits with a contributions element but people could be claiming IB (I dont know about ESA) and IS. However, this should be clear from the paperwork and you are right, they should check.
  • METAL MICKEY
    The poster receivers carers allowance which is topped up with income support.

    As far as I am aware, IS is paid separately from DLA as DLA is not means tested whereas IS is...? An IS claimant should have related paperwork.

    Anyone who receives IS is entitled to free NHS dental care and prescriptions. It is means tested and as such is a passport benefit.

    You are talking about benefits with a contributions element but people could be claiming IB (I dont know about ESA) and IS. However, this should be clear from the paperwork and you are right, they should check.
    Originally posted by bestpud
    OK i am with you. However, its this bandying of the phrases such as "topped up" and "having an element of IS". This is what people need to be absolutely sure of. As you rightly say IS is totally able to claim free treatment. However, if at any point you transition to DLA/IB that is when you need to check that according to the DWP database there exists the IS element. And crucially it is not always clear from the paperwork.

    A current good example of crap paperwork issued by the DWP is that relating to ESA. The confirmation letter does not clearly indicate whether you are on Conts or Income based. Instead it has a wonderfully poor sentence that uses both terms in the same sentence. This is a known issue for the NHSBSA doing the benefit checks but DWP do not want to know and cynically it would mean a reduction in recovered NHS dental charges and the revenue from the punitive penalty charge.
  • bestpud
    OK i am with you. However, its this bandying of the phrases such as "topped up" and "having an element of IS". This is what people need to be absolutely sure of. As you rightly say IS is totally able to claim free treatment. However, if at any point you transition to DLA/IB that is when you need to check that according to the DWP database there exists the IS element. And crucially it is not always clear from the paperwork.

    A current good example of crap paperwork issued by the DWP is that relating to ESA. The confirmation letter does not clearly indicate whether you are on Conts or Income based. Instead it has a wonderfully poor sentence that uses both terms in the same sentence. This is a known issue for the NHSBSA doing the benefit checks but DWP do not want to know and cynically it would mean a reduction in recovered NHS dental charges and the revenue from the punitive penalty charge.
    Originally posted by METAL MICKEY
    I guess it would be easier if they were all issued with a card but I suspect NHS fraud would be higher and it would cost to issue them.

    Maybe that's one thing that will be easier with universal credit.
  • PasturesNew
    Last time I was at my dentist's there was a sign in reception advising all NHS patients that they had been booted off his list. He only does private now.
  • bestpud
    Last time I was at my dentist's there was a sign in reception advising all NHS patients that they had been booted off his list. He only does private now.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    Ours went private years ago - most of them did in these parts.

    I now realise you get what you pay for in dentistry and I wouldn't go back to NHS.
  • METAL MICKEY
    I guess it would be easier if they were all issued with a card but I suspect NHS fraud would be higher and it would cost to issue them.

    Maybe that's one thing that will be easier with universal credit.
    Originally posted by bestpud
    Absolutely. We all knew the introduction of a national ID card was was never going to get off the ground for many good reasons including cost to implement and maintain plus the "big brother" civil liberty issues. However, one very good application of it would be whereby the details of your specific benefit would be loaded on to it and then when you attended the dentist you swiped it through a reader and green light would signify that you were legitimately claiming free treatment.

    I totally agree that it will be very interesting to see how the Universal Credit effects things. Theoretically i would hope it would reduce the number of of confusing benefits whereby people cannot differentiate between those that are qualifying and those that are not. Of course this all great theory but requires correct implementation from DWP and the the other concerned parties like the dentists and PCT's.
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