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Last updateSun, 06 Nov 2016 10am

Back You are here: Home Entitlements Entitlements Pensions Blind Persons Pension

Blind Persons Pension

If you get an increase for a qualified adult or if you are parenting alone you can get an increase of €26.00 for each qualified child under the age of 18 and €41.00 for children over 18 years of age .

The Blind Pension is a means tested payment paid to blind and visually impaired people normally living in Ireland. The payment is made by the Department of Social and Family Affairs.

To qualify for the Pension you will be required to have an eye test by an opthalmic surgeon (paid for by the Department) to verify your visual impairment and certain people with low vision may qualify.

The payment you receive is made up of a personal rate for you and extra amounts for a qualified adult and any child dependants (see `Rates` below). If you are awarded a Blind Person`s Pension, you may also qualify for the Blind Welfare Allowance . You will automatically get a Free Travel Pass and a Companion Free Travel Pass. (A Free Travel Pass allows you to travel on State public transport in Ireland for free. A Companion Free Travel Pass allows your companion aged 16 or over to also travel for free). You may also qualify for other benefits such as the Living Alone Increase and the Household Benefits Package .

If you consider that you have been wrongly refused Blind Pension, or you are unhappy about a decision of a Social Welfare Deciding Officer about your entitlements, you have the option of appealing this decision .


Rules
If you are blind or have a serious visual impairment prior to reaching 18 years, you should make your claim for this Pension 4 months before your 18th birthday. (If you are aged 16-18, you may qualify for Disability Allowance).

If you become blind or seriously visually impaired after your 18th birthday, you should apply as soon as the condition arises. This is important as payment can only be made from the date when your application is received. If you require full-time care and attention, the person looking after you may qualify for a Carer`s Allowance or Carer`s Benefit.

You can earn 120 euro per week from rehabilitative employment before these earnings affect your payment. If you have been receiving a Blind Person`s Pension for at least 12 months, you may be eligible for the Back to Work Allowance

From June 2006, if you are in rehabilitative employment and have a weekly income above 120 euro and below 350 euro a week,a tapered 50% withdrawal rate will apply.

The means test
The main items that are counted as means include:

Any cash income that you or your spouse/partner may have

The value of savings, investments, shares, land etc.
Any property you may have

Maintenance paid to you if you are deserted/separated.

The following items are not counted as means:

Your own home

A payment from the Department received by another member of the household

The value of the first 20,000 euro of capital assets (e.g. savings)
Money received from a recognised charitable organisation (excluding public or local authority)

The maintenance element of a higher education grant paid in respect to you, a qualified adult or child dependant(s) for certain courses

Income up to a certain limit from rehabilitative employment

Income from rehabilitative training

Domiciliary Care Allowance paid in respect of your child dependant(s)
Child Benefit, Supplementary Welfare Allowance or allowances paid by Health Service Executive (HSE) Areas in respect of children who are placed in foster care or with relatives by the HSE Areas

Mobility Allowance from the Department of Health and Children

Income from employment of a casual nature by a Health Service Executive (HSE) Area as a home help.

Appealing a decision on your claim
If you are unhappy with a decision made about your claim for Blind Person`s Pension, you can appeal against it. Read more about the social welfare appeals process here.

How to apply
A braille and audio cassette tape version of this application form is available from the National Council for the Blind of Ireland. This application form is also available from your local social welfare office. Staff in your local social welfare office will be happy to provide assistance in completing the form and can answer any questions you may have. Contact information for all social welfare offices in Ireland is available here.

You are also required to attach the following certificates with your claim for Blind Person`s Pension (this will help avoid delays in processing your claim):

your full birth certificate

your marriage certificate (if appropriate)
birth certificates for dependent children (if you are claiming child dependant allowance and you are not receiving Child Benefit for these children)

You can obtain copies of these certificates from the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths. (Photocopies of your original certificates are not acceptable).

Where to apply
Your completed application form (together with the above certificates) should be returned to the Department of Social and Family Affairs at the following address:

Blind Person`s Pension Section,
Pension Services Office,
College Road,
Sligo.
Tel: (071) 69800 or (071) 482371 (01) 8748444

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