The purpose of this blog post is to help in answering the question of what eye problems qualify as a disability. To delve deeper into the topic we will also explore what are the benefits one can claim if their eye condition is qualified as a disability and the amount(s) that they can expect to receive through benefit payments.

What Are The Eye Problems That Qualify For A Disability?

Eye problems that qualify you for disability include the following:

  • legal blindness; when the vision in your better eye cannot be improved more than 20/200 for at least the next 12 months
  • partial sightedness; when you have low vision due to trauma, eye disease or a brain disorder
  • Glaucoma; when your vision is affected due to a damaged optic nerve (this is common in individuals over 60) 
  • macular degeneration; when the macula or the central portion of the retina starts deteriorating  
  • ocular melanoma; rare cancer that affects the uveal tract
  • Sjögren’s Syndrome; an autoimmune disease which can cause corneal abrasions

Legal blindness and partial sightedness are eye conditions that account for nearly 340,000 of the total registrations with the NHS where individuals have reported a loss of vision. Both these conditions qualify as a disability according to the Equality Act 2010. 

If you suffer from either of these ailments and have a qualifying letter from your ophthalmologist, you can claim disability benefits to meet the increased cost of living and health-related expenses.

The same is the case with Macular Degeneration, Ocular Melanoma and Sjögren’s Syndrome as all three conditions have a long-term effect on the patient’s health, ability to work and perform everyday tasks, and increase their expenses due to a change in their lifestyle.

However, in the case of Glaucoma, the conditions of different patients may vary in severity. While there may be some Glaucoma patients whose symptoms have been caught early without causing significant loss of vision, there may be others whose condition deteriorated rapidly enough to affect their vision before medical treatment could cure their condition. 

In such cases, if Glaucoma does not affect the patient’s vision significantly enough to affect their work or home life, is treated medically and there are no long-term signs of the condition, it will not qualify as a disability and you may not be able to claim benefits consequently.

Which Disability Benefits Can You Claim For Eye Problems?

You can claim the following disability benefits if your eye problems qualify as a disability and you are registered as partially sighted or legally blind:

  • Personal Independence Payment: You can claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you are between 16 years old and under the State Pension age. Payments through PIP will help you with the extra costs of medical and household equipment that you need due to your condition. You can claim PIP by contacting the Disability Service Centre online or by calling on 0800 917 2222. 
  • Attendance Allowance: If the claimant is above State Pension age and needs help with everyday tasks or moving around, they can qualify for Attendance Allowance. To claim Attendance Allowance you can fill out the Attendance Allowance claim form online or take a printout, fill it with ink and send it to Freepost DWP Attendance Allowance via post. 
  • Blind Person’s Allowance: You can claim Blind Person’s Allowance if you are registered with your local council as legally blind or severely sight impaired. This is a top-up amount that increases your Personal Allowance before income tax is applied to your wages. You can claim this allowance by calling the HMRC at 0300 200 3301. However, this can only be claimed by individuals who continue to remain in the workforce (either with a job or being self-employed).
  • Disability Living Allowance: If the disability benefit is being claimed for a child younger than 16 years of age, their parents can claim DLA to meet the additional cost of raising and supervising them. You can either apply for DLA using the DLA1 Child (ALT) claim form online or call the Disability Living Allowance helpline at 0800 121 4600 and ask for a printed form. Once you’ve filled out the form you can post it to Freepost DWP DLA Child. 

If you claim Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance, the person taking care of you can claim Carer’s Allowance. To claim this benefit, your carer must be 16 years or older, earning equal to or less than £132 a week, spend a minimum of 35 hours per week looking after you and should not be enrolled in a full-time educational degree or course.

Before you apply for any of these benefits do keep in mind that you will need the Certificate of Vision Impairment filled out with the help of a medical practitioner. This certificate will be used to register you with the local council office and the Department for Work and Pensions. It will also serve as supporting evidence when you apply for benefits.  

Can You Claim Welfare Benefits If Your Eye Problems Qualify For A Disability?

Yes, you can claim the following welfare benefits if you are on a low income due to your disability:

  • Employment and Support Allowance: ESA is a benefit aimed at those people who are of working age but are restricted from work either due to a disability or an illness.
  • Pension Credit: Individuals who are on a low income can seek support through Pension Credit to top up their state retirement pension.
  • Universal Credit: While six legacy benefits have been replaced with Universal Credit, individuals with partial sightedness can claim Universal Credit due to the effect of their condition on their ability to work. They will be able to claim an additional amount added to their basic UC claim.

Additionally, If you receive any of the following benefits a Disability Premium will be added to your payments if you are legally blind:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit

How Much Can You Claim With Benefits If Your Eye Problems Qualify For A Disability?

Below are the details of benefits payments and rates that will determine how much you can claim if you eye problems qualify for a disability:

BenefitsWeekly Payments
Attendance Allowance-Lower rate £61.85
Attendance Allowance-Higher rate£92.40
Disability Living Allowance – Care Component – Low rate £24.45
Disability Living Allowance – Care Component – Middle rate£61.85
Disability Living Allowance – Care Component – High rate£92.40
Disability Living Allowance – Mobility Component – Low rate £24.45
Personal Independence PaymentDaily Living Component – Standard rate
£61.85
Personal Independence PaymentDaily Living Component – Enhanced rate
£92.40
Personal Independence PaymentMobility Component – Standard rate 
£24.45
Personal Independence PaymentMobility Component – Enhanced rate
£64.50
Contributory Employment and Support AllowancePersonal Allowance – Under 25
£61.05
Contributory Employment and Support AllowancePersonal Allowance – 25 or over 
£77.00
Contributory Employment and Support AllowanceWork-related Component
£30.60
Contributory Employment and Support AllowanceSupport group Component
£40.60
Pension Credit – Single£182.60
Pension Credit – Couple£278.70
Carer’s Allowance£69.70

Conclusion:

With more than 2 million people registered with the NHS for loss of vision, the above discussion will help readers in learning about a topic that affects a large segment of the UK population i.e. eye problems that qualify for a disability and can help them claim benefits consequently. You will also find here the process and requirements to be followed when you apply for benefits for a disability due to a health condition.

References: 

8 Eye Problems Qualify That For Disability Benefits

Blindness and vision loss – NHS

Benefits rates and payments | RNIB

What benefits am I entitled to as a severe sight-impaired (blind) or sight-impaired (partially sighted) person?