Personal Reader Grants
If you have a visual impairment or are blind and need help with reading at work, you may be eligible to apply for a grant to allow you to employ a personal reader. This grant is only paid if you are employed in the private sector. This grant aid allows you to employ someone on a part-time or ad-hoc basis for a maximum of 640 hours a year to help you with reading at work.
The grant is provided under the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection’s Reasonable Accommodation Fund.
You do not have to be registered blind, or have a specified level of sight loss to qualify for a Personal Reader Grant. If you are experiencing difficulty with reading at work for reasons of visual impairment, then you are entitled to apply for this grant. In addition, there is no means test associated with a Personal Reader Grant and you do not need to have a certain level of income to apply.
If you are a student at college or university and are experiencing difficulty with reading as a result of a visual impairment, you should get in touch with the Disability Liaison Officer for your college/university.
You should be aware that the Personal Reader Grant is paid for a maximum of 640 hours per annum and there is a set hourly rate of pay (see 'Rates' section below).
There are a number of ways to advertise for the services of a personal reader. Some people place an advertisement in a local newspaper, or in a local shop window or on a community notice board (for example, in a local community or shopping centre).
Anyone working in the private sector (except public sector employees) who has a visual impairment or is blind and would benefit from using the services of a personal reader for up to 640 hours per annum is entitled to apply for this grant.
Public sector employers (for example: government departments, State agencies, Health Service Executive, local authorities) must facilitate the needs of their staff with disabilities. This means making assistive technology, adaptive equipment and facilities, aids and appliances available. Public sector employers and their employees with a disability are therefore not entitled to claim the Personal Reader Grant as these employers should make these services available from their own annual budgetary resources.
The grant aid is a fee per hour in line with the national minimum wage for a maximum of 640 hours per annum. The number of hours that personal reading services are needed per week will depend on the type of work involved and should be agreed between you and your reader in advance. You can read more about maximum working hours here.
How to apply
You can either apply yourself or if you are an employer, you can apply for a Personal Reader Grant on behalf of an employee. You will need to complete Part 1 (pdf) and Part 2 (pdf) of the Reasonable Accommodation Fund application form which is available online. It is also available from your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.
If you have a visual impairment or are blind, staff in your local office will be pleased to help you complete the application form.
If you are a public sector employee and require assistance with reading at work as a result of an existing or progressive visual impairment, you should get in touch with the Disability Liaison Officer in your Human Resources Unit.
If you are a student in a college or university with a visual impairment and
require further information on educational supports, contact the Disability
Liaison Officer for your college.