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Blind welfare allowance is a means-tested payment from the HSE to people, aged 18 and over, who are blind or visually impaired.
You may qualify for blind welfare allowance if you meet any one of these requirements:
- You get a blind pension from the Department of Social Protection
- You get an income maintenance payment from the Department of Social Protection or an equivalent type payment from another country and have a certificate of visual impairment from an ophthalmologist
- You have an income below the combined Blind Pension rate and blind welfare allowance rate and you have a certificate of visual impairment from an ophthalmologist
Blind welfare allowance rates:
- €63.00 per week for a single person
- €120 per week for a blind couple, where both qualify for the allowance
- €4.40 per week for each child dependant
Confirming your level of vision
In order to receive the blind welfare allowance, your level of vision must be confirmed and certified.
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).
NCBI is the national sight loss organisation. They can confirm whether you meet the criteria to register as blind. You do not have to meet these criteria to use the services of NCBI.
The technical requirement is that you 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”.
Apply to your local health office for a blind welfare allowance.
Blind welfare allowance claim form (PDF, 383KB, 6 pages)
If you feel that you have been wrongly refused the blind welfare allowance, you can appeal the decision.
Read more about the HSE appeals process
If you are in residential care
You can not get blind welfare allowance if you are in a long-term residential care facility.
However, if you are admitted into a residential care facility, and you already get the blind welfare allowance, you can continue to receive it for a maximum of 8 continuous weeks in any 12 month period.