Blind Welfare Allowance

The Blind Welfare Allowance is a means-tested payment from the Health Service Executive to people who are blind or visually impaired. The allowance is paid to eligible people from 18 years of age.

If you consider that you have been wrongly refused Blind Welfare Allowance you can appeal this decision.

You may qualify for Blind Welfare Allowance, if you are:

Or

  • Getting an income maintenance payment from the Department of Social Protection or an equivalent type social security payment from another country and have a certificate of visual impairment from an ophthalmologist

Or

  • Have an income below the combined Blind Pension rate and Blind Welfare Allowance rateand you have a certificate of visual impairment from an ophthalmologist

Confirming your level of vision

In order to receive Blind Welfare Allowance, your vision must have "best vision equal to or less than 6/60 in the better eye or if the field of vision is limited, the widest diameter of vision subtending an angle of not greater than 20 degrees".

This can be confirmed by a certificate of visual acuity from your ophthalmic surgeon or by a letter from NCBI – the national sight loss organisation, who can confirm whether you meet the criteria to register as blind. People do not have to be meet this registration criteria in order to use the services of NCBI.

Residential care
You cannot get Blind Welfare Allowance if you are in a long-term residential care facility. However, if you are admitted into a residential care facility you can keep your Blind Welfare Allowance for a maximum of 8 continuous weeks in any 12 month period.

Blind Welfare Allowance rate from January 2012:

  • €58.50 per week for a single person
  • €117.00 per week for a blind couple
  • €4.40 per week for each child dependant.

The Blind Welfare Allowance rate for a couple is only applicable where both the applicant and partner/spouse are blind or visually impaired and qualify for the allowance.

Apply

  • Apply to your Local Health Office for a Blind Welfare Allowance.
  • If you consider that you have been wrongly refused Blind Welfare Allowance you can appeal the decision.