What benefits am I entitled to?
What is available depends on where you live, your financial circumstances, and if in some cases, if you are registered as blind or partially sighted.
The possibilities are quite extensive, including:
Free or discounted bus and train passes, half price TV licence, free sight tests, Blue badge parking scheme, increased income tax allowance, Disability Living or Attendance Allowance, reduced admission charges to many places of interest, public facilities, free directory enquiries, etc.
The RNIB website provides good information on benefits and concessions including a downloadable guide to the benefits and concessions available. The guide provides comprehensive information about what is currently available, and can be downloaded in Word and pdf format.
The Turn 2 Us website provides information detailing the availability of financial benefits and grants and how to claim or apply for these.
What does being Registered mean?
You may qualify to be registered as either blind or partially sighted. Becoming registered may help to speed up the support you can get from your local council in coping with the practical aspects of daily living that may be difficult. You may also be entitled to a number of financial benefits and concessions. You should ask your eye specialist if you qualify to be registered: he or she will complete a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) form if you do. You can find out more about how your sight is assessed to determine whether you are considered as either blind or partially sighted on the RNIB’s website.
Becoming registered is voluntary, and if you choose not to, you will still be able to claim a number of services, benefits and concessions based on your inability to see properly. Anyone with poor vision qualifies for an assessment of needs from their local authority, whether they are registered or not, so this is a good place to start.
What is an Assessment of Needs?
You may be finding some things more difficult to do than you used to. An assessment of needs will highlight areas where you may need help to keep you safe and independent. You should contact your local Social Services Department and ask for an assessment. If you live alone or you may be at risk for any reason, you are likely to be given priority. Usually you will be visited at home.