If you work you can disregard the first €120 of your earnings when working out your weekly means. Earnings above this limit will be counted as means. This disregard applies only to work that is rehabilitative. If you wish to take up this disregard, you should send us medical evidence from your GP stating the work is rehabilitative.
Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA)
If you are getting Blind Pension for at least 12 months and you wish to take up self-employment, you may transfer to the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) scheme. This allows you to get 2 years financial support. If you become self-employed under BTWEA you will get all of your Blind Pension for the first year, and 75% of it in the second year. For more information, log on to www.welfare.ie
If you are unable to continue on BTWEA, your entitlement to Blind Pension will be automatically restored.
Employment Support Services
Social Welfare Services
LoCall: 1890 927 999 (from the Republic of Ireland only)
+ 353 71 9672616 (from Northern Ireland or overseas)
Back to Education Programme
If you are getting Blind Pension, you can do further study without affecting your payments and benefits.
Back to Education Allowance
This allowance covers approved second and third level courses.
To take up this option, you must be:
- aged 18 or over,
- getting Blind Pension for at least 6 months, and
- attending an approved second or third level full-time course at a recognised school or college.
Under the scheme you will get the maximum rate of Blind Pension and keep any secondary benefits you already have for example, Free Travel and Fuel Allowance. While on Back to Education Allowance, you can work part-time or during holiday periods without affecting your payment. However, if you are getting Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement, this will be affected by any extra income.
Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)
This scheme is operated through local Vocational Educational Committees (VEC’s). The courses can last up to two years and can lead to qualifications such as Junior
Certificate, Leaving Certificate, Post Leaving Certificate and City and Guilds Certificates.
You do not pay any fee for the course and get books and materials free of charge.
To take part, you must be:
- aged 21 or over, and
- getting Blind Pension for at least 6 months.
Under the scheme you will get the maximum rate of Blind Pension and will keep any secondary benefits you already have, for example, Free Travel and Fuel Allowance.
If you were getting Blind Pension for at least 12 months immediately before starting the VTOS course, you may get an extra allowance of €32.60 a week.
VTOS is not means-tested, so you can work without affecting your payments. However, if you are getting Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement this will be affected by any extra income.