This month we thought it would make a change to focus on the benefits and concessions a vision impaired person is entitled to.
Depending on your level of sight loss, there are 2 levels of registration:
· Sight Impaired (SI), formerly known as being registered partially sighted
· Severely Sight Impaired (SSI), formerly known as being registered blind.
Find out more about the registration (certification) criteria at: https://www.rnib.org.uk/eye-health/registering-your-sight-loss/criteria-certification
Severely Sight Impaired
For people who are registered Severely Sight Impaired (SSI), the following benefits are available to you:
Blind Person’s Allowance (BPA)
Blind Person’s Allowance is an additional allowance you can claim before you pay income tax on your earnings.
The BPA is added to your personal tax allowance (identified using a different tax code) meaning that you can earn more before you start paying income tax on your earnings.
For residents in England and Wales, you can claim Blind Person’s Allowance if both of the following apply:
For residents in Scotland and Northern Ireland, you can claim Blind Person’s Allowance if both of the following apply:
The BPA allowance for the 2021 – 2022 financial year (06 April 2021 – 05 April 2022) is £2,520 (rates may differ for residents in Scotland
If you and your spouse or civil partner are both eligible, you’ll each get a BPA allowance. In addition, you can transfer your Blind Person’s Allowance to your spouse or civil partner if you do not pay tax or earn enough to use all of your allowance.
If you are eligible but are not yet claiming your BPA, then contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and ask to claim BPA.
The contact details for HMRC are:
Telephone: 0300 200 3301
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm (except bank holidays)
Saturday, 8am to 4pm
You can also find out more about BPA on the GOV.UK website at: https://www.gov.uk/blind-persons-allowance
TV Licence Reduction
If you are registered Severely Sight Impaired (SSI) and can provide the appropriate evidence, you are eligible to apply for a 50% concession on a colour TV Licence.
The full price of a colour TV Licence is £159 (increasing from £157.50 last year) so the price with the 50% concession would be £79.50. Concessions are also available on black and white TV licences.
To apply for a concessionary licence, you’ll need to have one of the following types of evidence:
Even if there are sighted people who live with you and use the TV, you can still apply for a blind person’s concession. The licence has to be in the name of the blind person to apply.
For further information or to apply, just visit: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/for-your-home/blindseverely-sight-impaired-aud5#:~:text=If%20you%20are%20blind%20(severely,impaired)%20you%20are%20not%20eligible.
Blue Badge Scheme
The Blue Badge Scheme is a national scheme that helps you park closer to your destination if you’re disabled. Depending on your local council, you can park on single or double yellow lines and usually there are concessions for parking in council run car parks.
There are different rules for using your Blue Badge depending on where you are; check the local County/borough rules before you use your badge in an area you don’t know.
You don’t have to be the driver of a vehicle to apply for a Blue Badge.
You’re automatically eligible for a Blue Badge if you are registered Severely Sight Impaired (SSI)/Blind.
Your local Council will issue your Blue Badge, you can find out who this is and find there contact details on the GOV.UK website - https://www.gov.uk/blue-badge-scheme-information-council
Severely Sight Impaired or Sight Impaired
In addition to the above benefits/concessions, if you are registered Severely Sight Impaired (SSI) or Sight Impaired (SI), you may also be entitled to some or all of the following:
Free Eye Examinations - https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/opticians/free-nhs-eye-tests-and-optical-vouchers/
Rail Concessions (when travelling with a companion) - https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/44965.aspx
Disabled Persons Railcard – https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/prde83090a04000400aa38c2e2bbd524.aspx
Disabled Persons Bus Pass - https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-disabled-bus-pass
Free Directory Enquiries - https://www.rnib.org.uk/information-everyday-living-benefits-and-concessions-concessions/free-directory-enquiries-195
Cinema Pass for Carers - https://www.ceacard.co.uk/
Free postage via Articles for the Blind - https://www.royalmail.com/sending/articles-blind
Personal Independence Payments (PIP) - https://www.gov.uk/pip
Motability Scheme - https://www.motability.co.uk/
Other Benefit Components
Finally, if you are in receipt of a government benefit such as Universal Credit(UC), Employment Support Allowance (ESA), etc. you may be entitled to additional elements or components to supplement your benefits. To find out more or get support, please contact the RNIB Helpline on 0303 1239999.
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
Interested to learn more about VIDA Training? We provide professional, bespoke Vision Impairment and Disability Training, Consultancy and Employment Services. Please contact us for further information.
Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.