Advice & Information
When you have a visual impairment or other disability, it can be difficult to find information about what you’re entitled to. In this section you will find some useful links, from getting registered, to advice on benefits and transport.
If you are concerned that you are losing your sight, you should see your GP or optician. They can then refer you to an eye specialist or ophthalmologist who will assess you. Depending on the extent of your sight loss the specialist will advise if you qualify to register your sight loss with the local authority.
If you are eligible, the ophthalmologist will sign a ‘certificate of vision impairment’. You will receive a copy of the certificate, and a copy will be sent to your GP and to your Local Authority Social Services team. Depending on how much sight you have you may be assessed as either severely sight impaired (blind) or as sight impaired (partially sighted).
The Local Authority has legal responsibility for keeping the register. It is their responsibility to get in touch with you and assess the kinds of support you might need.
Local Authorities work to national service guidelines. They should aim to be in touch with you within 48 hours of receiving the form, and to have your initial assessment of needs completed within 28 days.
Registration is voluntary and there is no obligation to register. However if you do register, you may find it easier to access some benefits and concessions which will help you. Some people think that being registered means that eventually they will lose all of their sight. That’s not true. Your sight might deteriorate as time goes on, but not because you’ve agreed to registration. Registration is just a formal acknowledgement of your sight loss.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch with your local centre.
When you register, you may be entitled to all or some of these benefits and discounts.
- Blind person’s personal tax allowance – call 0845 366 7887.
- Blue Badge scheme car parking permit – contact your own Local Authority.
- 50% reduction on TV licence fee – call 0300 790 6131 and choose the appropriate option.
- Free postage on any packages or letters marked ‘Articles for the Blind’ – call 0845 57 950 950, call in to a main post office, or order on line at email@example.com
- Disabled person’s railcard: over 30% off rail travel – call 0845 605 0525 and choose option 2.
- Free eye tests – ask your optician before the test.
- Local travel and leisure discounts. These vary according to your local area. Contact your local council to find out what is on offer where you live.
- Cinema, museums and theatre discounts. Again, these are very specific to each organisation. Contact venues directly and ask what they offer.
Discounts do vary considerably in different parts of the country, depending on the policies of your Local Authority and other organisations.