The Blind Pension is a means-tested payment paid to blind and visually
impaired people who are habitually
resident in Ireland. The payment is made by the Department of Social
Protection. To qualify for the Pension you must supply an eye test from an
opthalmic surgeon to verify your visual impairment.
The payment is made up of a personal rate for you and extra amounts for a
qualified adult and any child dependants (see 'Rates' below). If you are
awarded a Blind Pension, you may also qualify for the Blind
Welfare Allowance paid by the HSE.
You will automatically get a Free Travel Pass
and a Companion Free Travel Pass. (A Free Travel Pass allows you to travel on
State public transport in Ireland for free. A Companion Free Travel Pass allows
your companion aged 16 or over to also travel for free). You may also qualify
for other benefits such as the Living
Alone Increase and the Household
Blind Pension is a taxable
source of income.
If you are blind or have a serious visual impairment before reaching 18
years, you should make your claim 4 months before your 18th birthday. (If you
are aged 16-18, you may qualify for Disability Allowance.)
If you become blind or seriously visually impaired after your 18th birthday,
you should apply as soon as the condition arises. This is important as
payment can only be made from the date when your application is
received. If you require full-time care and attention, the person
looking after you may qualify for a Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit.
You can earn €120 per week from rehabilitative employment before these
earnings affect your payment. If you earn more than €120 per week from
rehabilitative work, 50% of your earnings between €120 and €350 are not
taken into account in the Blind Pension means test. All your earnings over
€350 are assessed as income and your entitlement to Blind Pension will be
reduced in line with the
appropriate reduced rates of payment for Blind Pension.
The means test
The main items that are counted as means include:
- Any cash income that you or your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant may
have (including income from employment)
- The value of savings, investments, shares, land etc.
- Any property you may have
- Maintenance paid to you if you are deserted, separated or a civil partner
not living with the other civil partner.
The following items are not counted as means:
- Your own home
- A payment from the Department received by another member of the household
- The value of the first €20,000 of capital assets (for example, savings)
- Money received from a recognised charitable organisation (excluding
public or local authority)
- The maintenance element of a higher education grant paid to you, a
qualified adult or child dependant(s) for certain courses
- Income up to a certain limit from rehabilitative
- Income from rehabilitative training
- Domiciliary Care
Welfare Allowance or Foster care allowances
Allowance from the Department of Health
Blind Pension maximum weekly rates in 2014
How to apply
To apply fill in application form (BP1)
for a Blind Pension (pdf). A braille and audio cassette tape version of
this application form is also available from the National Council for the Blind of Ireland. This
application form is also available from your local social welfare office. Staff
in your local social welfare office will be happy to help you to complete the
form and can answer any questions you may have.
You are also required to attach the following certificates with your claim
for Blind Pension (this will help avoid delays in processing your claim):
- Your full birth certificate
- Your marriage certificate (if appropriate)
- Birth certificates for dependent children (if you are claiming an
increase for a qualified child and you are not receiving Child Benefit for
You can obtain copies of these certificates from the Registrar of
Births, Marriages and Deaths. (Photocopies of your original certificates
are not acceptable).
If you are unhappy with a decision made about your claim for Blind Pension,
you can appeal against it. Find out more about the social welfare appeals
You must always tell the Department of Social Protection if there are any changes
to your circumstances while you are getting a Blind Pension. If your means
or circumstances change you may no longer qualify for the payment or it may be
reduced. This could mean that you have to repay
Where to apply
Your completed application form (together with the above certificates)
should be returned to the Department of Social Protection at the following
Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Services
Opening Hours:This office does not offer a service to personal callers. All queries must be made using the online enquiry form, by telephone or in writing.
Tel:(071) 915 7100
Locall:1890 500 000
You can email the Blind Pension section using the secure enquiry form.