Armstrong calls for free dental treatment and sight tests for UC claimants

Kellie Armstrong MLA has called on the Departments for Health and Communities to bring forward legislation to ensure people claiming Universal Credit in Northern Ireland are able to access free dental treatment and sight tests, in line with the rest of the UK.

Kellie Armstrong UC

Kellie Armstrong said; “Currently, people on Universal Credit in Northern Ireland have to apply to access help with dental treatment, sight tests, glasses or contact lenses, or travel to hospital using form HC1. In the rest of the UK, this is an automatic entitlement. 

“Many people in NI do not realise they have to complete HC1. With the increase in the number of people in work needing support through Universal Credit, there should be a more streamlined way to access support with health costs. The current system here still requires the claimant to know how to fill out a form, which form to use and submit to a Jobs and Benefits office for processing.

“I have to ask why NI still has a time consuming process in place when it’s an automatic system elsewhere in the UK.

“With the ‘Move to UC’ phase coming later this year, the Department for Communities staff will be under pressure to transfer many people over to Universal Credit. Enabling claimants to automatically be awarded help with health services, will reduce pressure on the civil service while removing unnecessary red tape.”