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Updated guidance issued on universal credit

OC offers advice for practices on new single payment benefits system being phased in this spring

Lady has an eye test

The Optical Confederation (OC) has issued updated guidance on Universal Credit, the new single payment system that is gradually being phased in across the UK to replace the old income-related benefits system for people who are looking for work, or on low incomes. 

The aim is for Universal Credit to be offered in all job centres in England, Scotland and Wales by spring 2016. However, Northern Ireland has yet to announce when it will be introduced there.

The OC highlights that, as with the old system, many people on Universal Credit will be entitled to an NHS General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) sight test and assistance towards the cost of spectacles, or contact lenses, via a GOS voucher on income grounds.

The guidance sets out what practices should do when a patient claims an NHS sight test and/or voucher on the grounds that they are in receipt of Universal Credit.

The benefits that are being replaced by Universal Credit include income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit.

Other entitlements – for example patients under 16, or over 60, patients diagnosed with diabetes, or glaucoma – remain unchanged.

For more information, visit the OC website.  

Image credit: Comms Engage/Flickr