People who are blind or vision impaired may be eligible for a range of benefits.
Disability Support Pension (Blind)
The Disability Support Pension (Blind) is a payment issued by Centrelink to men aged 16 to 65 years and women aged 16 to 60 – 65 years (depending on birthdate) who are legally blind. This pension is free of income and asset testing and is not taxable. In some circumstances pensioners who are vision impaired continue to receive this payment beyond 65 years of age.
Age Pension (Blind)
The Age Pension (Blind) is a payment issued by Centrelink to men and women of pensionable age who are legally blind. This pension is free of income and asset testing, but may be subject to taxation.
The Mobility Allowance is a payment issued by Centrelink to people over 16 years of age, who spend at least eight hours per week in employment (paid or voluntary), vocational training, secondary education or job seeking and who cannot use public transport without substantial assistance. This payment is not means tested.
Carer Payment and Carer Allowance
Carer Payment and Carer Allowance payments are made by Centrelink to people who provide a high level of personal care and supervision. These payments may be made to carers of both adults and children.
The Companion Card is issued by National Disability Services WA to people with a significant and permanent disability who require attendant care support from a companion to access community activities and venues. Cardholders present their Companion Card at an affiliated venue or event that charges an admission fee. Affiliated organisations and businesses will admit the cardholder’s companion at no charge. If you would like more information visit the Card website or call 1800 617 337.
Adaptive Equipment Assistance
Lotterywest provides grants for the purchase of equipment for use by people who are blind or vision impaired. Assistance available for the purchase of equipment to improve an individual’s independence and includes:
- Video magnification systems
- Text to speech scanning systems
- Specialised computer access software and hardware
- Braille-related technologies.
Computers and non-specialised hardware and software are not funded. This grant is means tested. This grant is available to individuals who are not on a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or My Aged Care plan.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs – Card Holders
Following assessment, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs may be able to assist its clients with the purchase of adaptive equipment or low vision aids. Gold Card Holders are generally eligible for assistance, while White Card Holders may be eligible if vision loss is acknowledged by the Department as a war caused disability.
Pensioner Education Supplement
This fortnightly Centrelink supplement helps students, who are already receiving a Centrelink payment, with additional ongoing study costs. To be eligible, a person must be enrolled in an approved secondary or tertiary course, and undertaking at least 25% of the course’s normal full time study load. A lump sum Education Entry payment is also provided upon commencement of an approved course.
Volunteer Task Force Transport Scheme
This scheme is administered by the Health Department and Volunteer Task Force to provide transport for those who have an ongoing functional disability, regardless of age. This service seeks to ensure that everyone eligible can get to their specialist, a doctor, the shops and socialise for little cost.
We can issue Travel Passes on behalf of the Department of Transport. The Pass entitles the person, and his or her guide, to travel freely on metropolitan buses, trains and ferries. Some free country and discounted interstate and international travel is also included.
To be eligible for a Travel Pass, a person must have at least 75% visual incapacity determined by measures of either visual acuity, visual field or a combination of visual acuity and field. Our Staff make this determination from calculations based on a formula provided by the Royal Australian College of Ophthalmology.
Taxi Users Subsidy Scheme
Administered through the Department of Transport, the Taxi Users Subsidy Scheme provides members with a 50% (or 75% if a wheelchair user) subsidy up to $25 per trip, whichever is the least, for all taxi travel. To be eligible, a person must be legally blind or have severe vision loss, together with other health or mobility problems. A doctor must complete the application.