Registering as sight impaired
If you have a visual impairment you may be eligible to be registered as sight impaired, which often makes it easier to get practical help and could qualify you for certain benefits and services. There are two categories of registration: sight impaired and severely sight impaired. You will not be eligible if you have good vision in one eye, even if the other eye has very poor vision. Registration should trigger a review of welfare benefits and financial allowances you could receive. If you are registered as either sight impaired or severely sight impaired you may be entitled to:
- free NHS sight tests
- railcards and other rail or travel concessions
- local travel schemes
- free directory enquiry services from BT
- protection under the Equality Act
- free postage on items marked ‘articles for the blind
- free assessment by social services.
In addition, if you are registered as severely sight impaired you may be entitled to:
- free loan of radios, cassette players and TV sound receivers
- help with telephone installation charges and line rental
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Tax credits
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax disability reduction
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit
- free ticket for a guide at theatres, galleries and tourist attractions.
How to register
To be registered, you must have your sight examined by a hospital Consultant Ophthalmologist (eye specialist). If you are not attending a hospital at present, you can discuss it with your GP or optician who will refer you for an appointment. While in the eye department you will have your eyesight checked and if you meet the criteria, your Ophthalmologist can complete a form, which is then processed by social services.
Benefits and grants
You may be able to claim financial support if you have a macular condition. The main benefits are: Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Employment Support Allowance, Tax credits, Access to Work, Disabled Students’ Allowances, Attendance Allowance and Blind Person’s Allowance. Contact our Helpline on 0300 3030 111 for more information or visit www.gov.uk.