Benefits Advice Service NI

Our Benefits Advice Service can help you claim the benefits, tax credits or allowances to which you are entitled if you are blind or partially sighted

Claiming your full entitlement

The benefits system can seem very confusing. It's not always easy to know what you qualify for or what to write on the form. We offer a confidential benefits check and advisory service free of charge for blind and partially sighted people. Our qualified advisers can provide information on the full range of social security benefits, tax credits and other allowances or concessions available to people with sight loss. We can assist you in claiming your full entitlement and support you in any appeal you may have to make.

Making an appointment

The service is available by appointment over the telephone, or in any of our premises in Omagh, Coleraine, Derry/Londonderry or Belfast. In exceptional circumstances we may also be able to arrange home visits.

To make an appointment, email us at benefitsni@rnib.org.uk
or call us on:
from counties Armagh, Down or Antrim, 028 9032 9373
from Counties Fermanagh, Tyrone and Derry/Londonderry, 028 7136 6060

We will take down a few details and ask one of our advisers to contact you as soon as possible. The service is very popular, and we would ask for your patience, but we will try to arrange an appointment as quickly as we can.

Finding out more about benefits

The Social Security Agency provides lots of information on benefits for people with disabilities.

Changes to Disability Living Allowance

We were delighted at our campaign success in March 2009 in changing the rules governing Disability Living Allowance (DLA). People with serious sight loss now qualify for the higher rate of the mobility component of this benefit.

Personal Independence Payment

From 2013 Disability Living Allowance (DLA) became Personal Independence Payment (PIP). PIP has replaced DLA and will continue to be a non-means tested benefit. There are two components, mobility and daily living needs. If you are currently in receipt of DLA, you will be contacted in 2013/14 and asked to attend a medical assessment to determine whether you are eligible to migrate from DLA over to PIP. Just to clarify, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has not replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man yet.

In NI the Stormont Assembly have yet to reach a decision on PIP regulations and exactly when it is to be brought in over here. It is inevitable that PIP will replace DLA, but the date has yet to be confirmed. We will up date the information on this page as we get it.

Read a letter from Tommy O'Reilly Chief Executive of the Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland, dated 12 August 2013. The letter contains the latest estimation as to when the Welfare Reform might occur in NI.

Blind and partially sighted people are likely to lose out under this new system. According to the UK Government's own figures, about half a million people will lose entitlement altogether as DLA is replaced by PIP. While others will qualify for a lower rate than they currently receive. There are a number of areas where we feel that the impact of sight loss has not been properly recognised.

For more details, and for further in-depth information on PIP and what it all means visit RNIB's webpage all about PIP

You can also find links to other resources including how to get involved in our campaign against negative changes to the welfare and benefits system.

Related links

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