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 Employment Affairs and 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 meet this registration criteria in order to use the services of NCBI.
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:
- €61.50 for a single person
- €120 for a blind couple (if both qualify for the allowance)
- €4.40 for each child dependant