We have provided advice to all sorts of people, each with their own experience of sight loss.
We can provide tax and benefit advice and support no matter what your circumstances are. We also work with different teams across RNIB, as well as other organisations, and can refer you to their services to make sure you are getting all the help you need. Below are a few case studies of some of the people we have helped.
Mavis has age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and is registered severely sight impaired (blind). She is a carer for her husband who has Alzheimer's. Mavis was referred to RNIB as she needed advice about council tax and a benefits check.
After talking with Mavis about her circumstances and needs, we helped her apply for Attendance Allowance, arranged for her to receive the correct exemption on her council tax bill, and referred her to the Pension Service visiting team for assistance with a claim for Pension Credit. We also made sure Mavis starting receiving the 50% discount on her TV licence she is entitled to as someone who is registered blind. Mavis’s husband has taxable income so we advised Mavis to transfer the Blind Person’s tax allowance to her husband. This was backdated for 3 years and HMRC issued Mavis and her husband with a tax rebate.
After the help she received from RNIB, Mavis told us:
“The extra money has helped a lot. We were only on a state pension before. My husband has a carer who comes in every day but apart from that I look after him on my own. We’ve been able to have a weekend break which we couldn’t afford to do before. The service from RNIB was wonderful. I have everything I need now and will contact RNIB again if I need any extra help in the future.”
Robert was referred to RNIB as he needed help to apply for Attendance Allowance (AA). After learning that Robert’s wife is also disabled, we helped her to apply for AA too. We also gave Robert advice on claiming the Blind Person’s tax allowance and helped him to get a taxi card, Blue Badge and concessionary travel pass so he can continue to travel as independently as possible. Because of our advice, HMRC applied the Blind Person’s allowance to Robert’s tax code and backdated his claim.
Speaking about RNIB’s tax advice service, Robert said:
“RNIB helped me to apply for Attendance Allowance which I hadn’t heard about before. My wife also has a lot of difficulties and RNIB also completed the forms for my wife so we are both now getting Attendance Allowance. This is very helpful as it means now I’m able to get taxis for shopping and we have a home help once a week. The hairdresser and chiropodist can come now on a regular basis, before it was only occasionally. This has given us security and confidence.
“I’m indebted to RNIB for all the help I’ve had. RNIB offered much more than I expected. I thought I was only going to get a magnifier and I have received so much more help than that.”
John is registered sight impaired (partially sighted) and lives alone. He also has chronic lung disease and when he contacted us, John was finding it increasingly difficult to look after his home and stay independent.
After speaking to John about his circumstances, RNIB carried out a benefits check and completed claim forms for disability benefits on John’s behalf. The claims were successful and John was awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at the enhanced rate for mobility and the standard rate for care and Employment Support Allowance.
Because of the isolation John was feeling, and the trouble he was having with everyday tasks, we also referred him to his council’s Social Care team who assessed John’s needs and put a care plan in place. Carers now visit each morning to help with washing and dressing.
John was really happy with the help he received from our service, and told us:
Lynette, from RNIB's Tax Advice Service, recently spoke to Infosound about how our service helps blind and partially sighted people. She explained how we can help ensure people are getting the tax exemptions, allowances and other benefits they are entitled to.
Infosound produces free audio information on a range of topics that directly affect people with sight loss. To listen to more of their audio articles, visit their website.
“Before having the help I was too tired some days to get dressed and not able to get out of the house. The girls who come in are good company. I know I’ll see and speak with someone each day and feel less alone. I was struggling to keep the house clean before and it was upsetting me. The extra benefits I’ve received have meant I can now pay for a cleaner. I feel much happier and better in myself now. The support from RNIB and Action was a godsend.”