Blind Pension

What is the Blind Pension?

The Blind Pension is a means-tested payment paid to people who are blind or have low vision and who are habitually resident in Ireland. It is paid by the Department of Social Protection.

The payment is made up of a personal rate for you, and extra amounts for a qualified adult (such as your spouse) and any child dependants (see 'Rate of Blind Pension' below).

If you get a Blind Pension, you may also qualify for the Blind Welfare Allowance paid by the HSE.

If you get Blind Pension and another source of income, you may have to pay tax. Read about taxation of social welfare payments.

Other benefits

If you get Blind Pension, you automatically get a Free Travel Pass and a Companion Free Travel Pass. This means you can travel on public transport in Ireland for free. Your companion aged 16 or over can also travel with you for free.

You may also qualify for other benefits, such as:

Can I get Blind Pension?

To qualify for Blind Pension, you must:

  • Be blind or have low vision
  • Be aged 18 or over, and under 66
  • Be habitually resident in Ireland
  • Pass a ‘means test’

Proof of blindness or low vision

To qualify for Blind Pension, your vision must be impaired to the point that:

  • You can’t carry out any job where eyesight is essential, or
  • You can’t continue working in your regular occupation.

If you're registered with Vision Ireland, this is usually accepted as proof of your blindness.

However, if you're not registered with Vision Ireland, you must provide the Department of Social Protection with a medical report from an ophthalmic surgeon or optometrist.

Means test for Blind Pension

Blind Pension is a means-tested payment.

In a means test, the Department of Social Protection (DSP) looks at all your sources of income. They also look at your spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant’s income.

To qualify for Blind Pension, your weekly means must be €235.10 or less. Your rate of Blind Pension may be reduced depending on your weekly means (see ‘Rate of Blind Pension’ below).

The main items included in the means test for Blind Pension are:

Cash income

The DSP looks at your cash income (such as payment from work), that you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may have.

Some cash income may not be included in the means test.


Capital includes your savings, investments, shares, and any property you have (but not your own home). The first €20,000 of your capital is not taken into account for the means test for Blind Pension (€40,000 if you’re in a couple).

Read about capital not included in the means test.


The DSP looks at maintenance paid to you. Read more about how maintenance is assessed as means.

How income from work is assessed for Blind Pension

You can earn €165 per week from work (including self-employed work) without it affecting your payment. This is called an ‘income disregard’.

If you earn more than €165 per week from work, half of your earnings from €165 and €375 are not taken into account in the Blind Pension means test.

The DSP assesses all your earnings over €375 in full.

There are no ‘disregards’ for your spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant's earnings. This means their income from work is assessed in full.

Read our page about how disability payments are affected by work.

Income from PhD scholarship

PhD scholarship of up to €20,000 per year, for up to 4 years, is not taken into account when you are assessed for Blind Pension.

Income from the sale of your home

The means test does not take into account up to €190,500 of the money you get if you sell your home and:

  • Move to different accommodation (you can either buy or rent)
  • Move in with someone who is caring for you and getting a carer's payment
  • Move to sheltered or special housing in the voluntary, co-operative, statutory, or private sectors
  • Move into a registered private nursing home.

If you’re in a couple

If you are married, in a civil partnership, or cohabiting, your individual means will be taken as half the joint means of you and your spouse or partner.

Read more about the means test for Blind Pension on

Rate of Blind Pension

Weekly maximum Blind Pension rate 2024

Maximum personal rate

Increase for an adult dependant

Increase for a child dependant






Child aged under 12: €46 (full rate), €23 (half-rate)

Child aged 12 and over: €54 (full rate), €27 (half-rate)

Can I get other payments with Blind Pension?

If you are aged under 66 and you meet the relevant conditions, you may also qualify for:

Increase for a qualified adult or child

If you get an increase for a qualified adult or an increase for a qualified child with your Blind Pension, you can also get an increase on the payments listed above.

Partial Capacity Benefit

If you were getting Illness Benefit and transferred to Partial Capacity Benefit (PCB), your PCB is not taken into account in the means test for Blind Pension. However, your earnings from employment are taken into account and may affect the amount of Blind Pension you get.

One-Parent Family Payment

If you qualify for One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) and Blind Pension, you can get both payments at the full rate.

People who qualify for Blind Pension do not need to meet the child age conditions for OFP. This means you can claim both Blind Pension and OFP together until your youngest child is 16, including any increases for a qualified child.

If you get Blind Pension and OFP, you cannot claim certain other benefits.

When to apply for Blind Pension

If you are under 18

If you are under 18 and you are blind or have low vision, you should apply for Blind Pension 3 months before your 18th birthday.

While you can't get Blind Pension until you are 18, you may qualify for Disability Allowance if you are 16 or over.

If you are over 18

If you become blind or develop low vision after you turn 18, you should apply as soon as possible. This is important, as the Department of Social Protection will only pay Blind Pension from the date they get your application.

You cannot get Blind Pension after your 66th birthday. Instead, you will be invited to apply for a State Pension (Contributory) or State Pension (Non-contributory).

If you have a carer

If you need full-time care, the person looking after you may qualify for Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit.

How to apply for Blind Pension

To apply for Blind Pension, download and complete application form (BP1) (pdf) and send it to the Department of Social Protection at the address below.

You can get a braille and audio cassette tape version of this application form from Vision Ireland.

You can also get the application form from your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office and your local Post Office.

Staff in your local Intreo office can help you to complete the form and answer any questions you may have.

Supporting documents

If you (and your spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant) were born and married in Ireland, you don’t need to send your birth or marriage certificates. The DSP already has access to this information.

However, if the marriage, civil partnership, or birth took place outside of Ireland, you must provide an original copy of the birth certificates or marriage certificate. The DSP does not accept photocopies.

If you are claiming an increase for a qualified child who is aged 18-22 and in full-time education, you should also provide a letter from their college confirming their attendance.

Changes to your circumstances

You must tell the Department of Social Protection if there are any changes to your circumstances while you are getting a Blind Pension within 3 months of the change.

If your means or circumstances change, you may no longer qualify for the payment or it may be reduced. This could mean that you have to repay an over-payment.

If you get a job, but stop working within 12 months

If you get a job while getting Blind Pension, your rate of payment may be reduced or stopped (depending on your new weekly means).

If your Blind Pension is stopped, you can be fast-tracked back onto the payment if you stop work within 12 months.

Can I appeal a decision?

If you are unhappy with a decision made about your claim for Blind Pension, you can appeal it. Find out more about the social welfare appeals process.

Where to apply

You should send your completed application form to the Department of Social Protection at the following address:

Department of Social Protection

Social Welfare Services
College Road
Sligo F91 T384

Opening Hours: This office does not offer a service to personal callers. All queries must be made using the online enquiry form, by telephone or in writing.
Tel: (071) 915 7100 or 0818 200 400
Page edited: 12 April 2024