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Help with travel costs for medical appointments

Under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS), you may be able to claim back money spent travelling to and from the hospital. This can also include the expenses of someone who has to go with you because it is medically necessary.

If you or your loved one have been diagnosed with a brain tumour, you (and a companion if medically necessary) may be entitled to financial help with costs incurred travelling to and from hospital appointments, as well as parking charges. 

This usually involves being able to claim back costs, rather than receiving up front payment.

You must meet certain criteria to qualify for such assistance, including the following:

  • You or your partner must be on certain benefits or your income is sufficiently low (see below).
  • You have evidence of your appointment – this could be an letter or appointment card
  • You have your receipts

If you or your partner are on the following benefits, you can claim help with travel costs:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit (WTC) with Child Tax Credit (CTC)
  • WTC with a disability element or a severe disability element
  • CTC, but you’re not eligible for WTC (and your income is below a specified amount and you are named on a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate)
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • Universal Credit (and you have no earnings or earnings below a specified level)

You can also claim if your weekly income is sufficiently low and your savings are below a certain level. You will need to apply for this using an HC1, and if you qualify, you will receive an HC2 or HC3 certificate from the NHS Low Income Scheme

The NHS will normally only refund costs of the cheapest form of transport that is reasonable in your circumstances. In most cases, this will be public transport, but the NHS will take into account your age, medical condition, and other relevant factors, such as availability of public transport.

Our experienced Benefits and Money Advisor providing advice over the phone to someone affected by a brain tumour

Expert advice and guidance

Speak to our experienced advisors for advice on the financial support you may be eligible for to help pay for healthcare travel costs.

How do I claim?

You must claim back within 3 months of your appointment and you’ll need your:

  • travel receipts
  • appointment letter or card
  • proof that you’re receiving one of the benefits, have an NHS Exemption Certificate or an HC2 or HC3

You’ll need to take these to a nominated cashiers’ office (although this may be known by a different name), which are normally located in the hospital or clinic that treated you. You can ask reception or PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Services) where to find the office.

Visit the NHS website for more information and a full list of eligibility criteria.


If you’re caring for someone who’s living with a brain tumour, you may be able to receive help with travel costs to the hospital through a Budgeting Loan from the government’s Social Fund. Eligibility criteria apply, including low income or receiving income based Employment Support Allowance. And you have to pay the money back. If you are receiving Universal Credit, you cannot apply for a budgeting loan, but can apply for a Universal Credit budgeting advance.  This will be paid back directly from your Universal Credit payments.

For more information, speak to our expert benefits advisor by booking an appointment for our free telephone Benefits Clinic.

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Help with hospital parking costs

Hospital car parking policies are different across the UK.

  • In England, many hospitals give free car parking or discounts to people with cancer (high grade tumours). However, this isn’t always clearly advertised, so ask your hospital if this is something they do.
  • In Wales, all hospital parking is free.
  • In Scotland, hospital parking is free at most hospitals but some still charge for privately-run car parks. 
  • In Northern Ireland, hospital parking is free if you’re having chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It’s also free if you’re a partner or relative and are transporting the person having chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Hospitals can give free parking to others at their discretion.

If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:
Support and Information Services
0808 800 0004 Free from landlines and mobiles
Phone lines open Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00
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If you need someone to talk to or advice on where to get help, our Support and Information team is available by phone, email or live-chat.

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