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Blind Welfare Allowance


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


You may qualify for Blind Welfare Allowance if you:

  • Are getting Blind Pension from the Department of Social Protection


  • Are 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


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

To qualify for 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 the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI), 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.


The weekly rate for Blind Welfare Allowance is:

  • €58.50 for a single person
  • €117.00 for a blind couple
  • €4.40 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.

How to apply

Apply to your Local Health Office for the Blind Welfare Allowance.

If you consider that you have been wrongly refused Blind Welfare Allowance you can appeal the decision using the HSE appeals process.
Page edited: 22 July 2015



Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.