Blind welfare allowance is a means-tested payment from the HSE to people age 18 and over who are blind or have a visual impairment.
How to apply
You must apply for blind welfare allowance in person at your local health office.
You will need to bring these with you:
- your completed Blind welfare allowance claim form (PDF, 383KB, 6 pages)
- proof of income
- a report from an eye specialist on your level of vision - if you do not get the Blind Pension
- your full birth certificate - if you do not have a PPS number
Contact your local health office
Phone your local health office to ask:
- if you need to make an appointment
- questions about your application
- about getting help completing the form
Qualifying for blind welfare allowance
You may be likely to get blind welfare allowance if you have a visual impairment and:
- get the Blind Pension from the Department of Social Protection
- are on low pay
- get an extra payment from the Department of Social Protection or from another country
Blind welfare allowance is a means-tested payment. We look at payments you and your partner get. This helps us work out if we can give you blind welfare allowance.
You will need to give us information and proof of any:
- payments you get
- property you own
- government welfare or education schemes
We also ask you to list children age 23 and under who are dependent on you.
If you are in residential care
If you already get blind welfare allowance and have to go into long-term residential care, you will only get the payment for a maximum of 8 weeks in your first year. You should notify the HSE if you move to long-term residential care.
If you do not get blind welfare allowance and are in long-term residential care you cannot apply.
Confirming your level of vision
If you do not already get the Blind Pension, you need to send us an ophthalmic assessment report. You can get this from an eye specialist, for example a consultant ophthalmologist or an orthoptist. This is to confirm your level of vision.
You can send us a letter from the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI). If you have been using NCBI's services and it has your medical reports, you can ask for a letter about your level of vision.
You must have best vision equal to or less than 6/60 in the better eye. If you have limited field of vision, 20 degrees is the widest the diameter of vision subtending an angle can be.
Blind welfare allowance rates are:
- €66.70 per week for 1 person
- €120 per week for a blind couple, where both qualify for the allowance
- €4.40 per week for each child dependent on you
We will pay your blind welfare allowance into your bank account. We will tell you if this will be weekly or monthly - it depends on your local health office.
Contact your local health office to change your address or payment details.
If your application is refused
If we refuse your application for blind welfare allowance, you can:
- apply again if your situation changes
Your local office will be able to help you.
Find out more about making an appeal.