Blind Welfare Allowance
If you are blind or visually impaired you can apply for the Blind Welfare Allowance. This a means-tested payment from the Health Service Executive (HSE) for people aged 18 or over who are blind or visually impaired.
How to qualify for Blind Welfare Allowance
You may qualify for Blind Welfare Allowance if any of the following apply to you:
- You are getting Blind Pension from the Department of Social Protection (DSP)
- You have a certificate of visual impairment from an ophthalmologist and you are getting an income maintenance payment from the DSP, or an equivalent type social security payment from another country
- You have an income below the combined Blind Pension rate and Blind Welfare Allowance rate (below) and have a certificate of visual impairment from an ophthalmic surgeon
You will need one of the following items to show your level of vision to qualify for Blind Welfare Allowance:
- A Certificate of Visual Acuity from your ophthalmic surgeon, or
- A letter from Vision Ireland (formally the National Council for the Blind)
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".
How to apply for Blind Welfare Allowance
- Details of your Blind Pension
- Confirmation that you are registered with Vision Ireland (formally the National Council for the Blind)
- A certificate of visual impairment from an Opthalmic Surgeon/Physician
You can submit a birth cert if you or a family member listed on the form does not have a PPS number (Personal Public Service Number).
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 rates
The weekly rate for Blind Welfare Allowance is:
- €66.70 for a single person
- €120 for a blind couple (if both qualify for the allowance)
- An extra €4.40 for each child dependant
Blind Welfare Allowance appeals
If you think you have been wrongly refused Blind Welfare Allowance you can appeal the decision using the HSE appeals process.
Vision Ireland (formally National Council for the Blind) can confirm whether you meet the criteria to register as blind. However you do not have to meet this registration criteria to use the services of Vision Ireland.