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The impacts of the Cost of Living crisis for people with sight loss

A close up of a person’s hand inserting a card into an ATM.

A close up of a person’s hand inserting a card into an ATM.

Rapid rises in the cost of living are having a bigger impact on blind and partially sighted people. People with sight loss already face additional, unavoidable costs like taxi journeys, assistive technology and support in the home.

The impact on people with sight loss

Society isn’t designed with blind and partially sighted people in mind, which means they’re less likely to be able to find the best money-saving deals or choose the cheapest options. Even before prices began to rise, one in five blind and partially sighted people said they had some, or great, difficulty in making ends meet. The cost of living crisis has made this situation worse.

People with sight loss are also more reliant on benefits than the general population; only one in four registered blind and partially sighted people of working age in employment. In April 2022, the UK Government increased benefits by just 3.1 per cent – despite bills and prices rising far faster and inflation predicted to reach 11 per cent later in the year.

Read our report which highlights why people living with sight loss have been hit harder by the increasing cost of living crisis than the wider population.

Find the support you need

At RNIB, we offer free practical and emotional support to help people with sight loss deal with increasing financial pressures. 

People with sight loss are entitled to financial support to help with the extra costs associated with their disability. We can help you identify the financial help, tax allowances and concessions you could be entitled to and give you the information and support you need to apply. We also have handy tips on how to manage your finances independently when you have sight loss. 

We provide information about financial support on specific areas, such as fuel poverty, and signpost to other dedicated organisations which can provide advice in the areas that matter to you. 

Download our cost of living factsheet below and try out our benefits calculator to find out exactly what you could be receiving. You could also book a place on one of our free Living Well with Sight Loss: Focus on Money Matters courses.

You can call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999, say “Alexa, call RNIB Helpline” to an Alexa-enabled device, or email [email protected]. We're open 8am-8pm on weekdays and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

Our survey results

RNIB’s recent cost of living survey asked more than 100 blind and partially sighted people how the crisis was affecting them. 

  • More than two thirds said their financial situation had got worse over the last six months.
  • More than a third “often” go without essentials such as food and heating, or have struggled to make ends meet.
  • Despite some people needing more light, to safely move around their home and for other tasks, more than two thirds reported using less energy to try and save money. This compares to a third of the general population. 

One respondent said: “I am missing a meal today. I have a small bowl of cereal, then miss lunch and have something cheap in the evening like beans on toast. This is the only way I’m currently surviving. If costs increase and benefits don’t, I will not be able to eat or put the heating on during cold evenings. I am also taking less showers now which makes me feel dirty and uncomfortable.”

Advice you can trust

Our Advisers receive specialist training on topics related to living with sight loss, and many have personal experience of sight loss themselves.

Advisers are accredited with the Advice Quality Standard, an independent accreditation for organisations giving advice to the general public.

The Advice Quality Standard logo

The Advice Quality Standard logo