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Blind welfare allowance

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

Apply to your local health office by post or in person for blind welfare allowance.

You will need:

Phone your local health office if you have any questions about your application.

Find your local health office's phone number and address

Qualifying for blind welfare allowance

It's likely you will 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

Means testing

Blind welfare allowance is a means-tested payment. We look at payments you and your partner get.

You will need to provide information on and proof of any:

  • payments you get
  • property you own
  • investments
  • 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 are getting the allowance and you go into long-term residential care, you'll only get it for 8 weeks at the most in your first year. 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.

Rates

Blind welfare allowance rates are:

  • €70.30 per week for an adult
  • €4.40 per week for each child dependent on you

Payment

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:

  • appeal
  • apply again if your situation changes

Your local health office will be able to help you.

Find out more about making an appeal.

Page last reviewed: 23 January 2023