Benefits for people of working age

Find out what benefits you may be able to claim if you are blind or partially sighted and of working age

The benefits that you could claim if you are aged 16 to 64 and blind or partially sighted

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit aimed at helping you with the extra costs caused by illness or disability – including sight loss. It replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged 16 to 64 except in Northern Ireland where DLA remains.
  • The Government is also replacing a number of means-tested benefits with a single new benefit called Universal Credit. You may be eligible for it if you are on a low income. It does not matter whether you are in or out of work.
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is for people of working age who are unable to work because of disability or illness. Universal Credit is replacing one type of ESA (income-related ESA).

The impact (or not) of the benefit cap on blind and partially sighted people

The Government has placed a limit on the total amount of benefits that most people of working age can receive. This benefit cap affects a large number of benefits for people aged 16 to 64 and covers your entire household.

The good news is that you should be exempt from the benefit cap if you receive a benefit such as PIP, DLA or the support component of ESA. As many blind or partially sighted people successfully claim these benefits, this means that the impact on people with serious sight loss should be minimal.

The “Bedroom tax”

You may have heard of the “under-occupancy charge” or “Bedroom tax”. This “tax” is a change to the rules for Housing Benefit – a benefit that helps people on low incomes with their rent – for people of working age that live in social housing (council or Housing Association tenants). The change to the rules mean that you could receive a reduced amount of Housing Benefit if your local council believe that you have more bedrooms than you need.

If your council notifies you that they are reducing your Housing Benefit because of “under-occupancy”, please speak to our benefits advisers if you want to talk through your options - this could include applying for discretionary housing payments from your local council. Call 0303 123 9999 or email helpline@rnib.org.uk.

If you live in Scotland, the Government there has announced that it will cover the cost of the “bedroom tax” for residents affected by it, so you should not lose out.

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