One of the most common questions we are asked is “what financial benefits can a person who is blind receive?”
Accessing benefits and funding for a person with vision impairment can be complex and time consuming and will vary from person to person.
We’ve set out some options below, but if you require more information, simply contact us and one of our friendly team will be more than happy to talk through options open to you.
Please note that eligibility for benefits and funding are dependent on individual circumstances and we are unable to give specific advice or process applications. You should contact Centrelink to discuss your personal situation and eligibility.
There are currently four options for funding of VisAbility services, depending on your individual situation:
National Disability Insurance Scheme
The NDIS is a scheme run by the Australian Government through the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
It is designed to support people under 65 years of age, with a permanent and significant disability, which substantially reduces their ability to participate in everyday activities.
Who is eligible for the NDIS?
The NDIS is open to all Australian permanent residents and citizens between the ages of 7 and 65, who require support because of a permanent and significant disability.
The NDIA has an access checklist tool to enable you to check your own eligibility. If you meet the criteria, contact the NDIA or call them on 1800 800 110 to ask for an Access Request Form.
Vision impairment and NDIS
VisAbility is a registered NDIS provider of services for children and adults living with vision impairment.
NDIS participants who live with vision impairment are able to fund low vision supports including (but not limited to):
- Assistive Technology
Equipment and technology to get the most out of your phone or computer, pick the right colour clothes, cook, tell the time and more.
- Guide Dogs
Guide Dogs offer a unique combination of independence, safety and companionship. They can transform your life by boosting your confidence and can take you safely to regular places such as work, university, restaurants and the shops.
- Orientation and Mobility
To help you get around safely and how to travel regular routes eg. to work, the shops or a cafe.
- Occupational Therapy
To help you manage everyday or household tasks, such as cooking or dressing.
Be sure to contact us to discuss your needs in more depth and find out how we might be able to help, before finalising your NDIS Plan, as it will take additional time to approve any revisions.
NDIS and supported employment
The NDIS may provide funding for employment supports to provide assistance and advice to find employment, together with ongoing support to remain employed. This could include:
- Resume writing
- Training on how to travel to and from work
- Communication skills and building relationships with colleagues
Visit our Disability Employment Services for more information.
My Vision My Choice
The My Vision, My Choice (link opens in new window) website covers the NDIS in detail, with information related specifically to vision impairment. It covers NDIS funding types, plans, services and supports, and has a handy eligibility checker.
My Aged Care
My Aged Care is available after the age of 65 by the Commonwealth Home Support Program. It is designed to help you through your aged care journey.
Following an assessment, you will receive care, based on your current level of vision impairment and what support you may need in the future. The aim is for you to remain independent and in your own home for as long as possible.
This could include services and support from our expert team of Allied Health Professionals (such as Occupational Therapists or Orientation and Mobility Specialists).
We can also assist with assessment and modifications to your home and social support to continue to participate in the community. There are different types of support available, including funding for:
- Help at home
- Short term care
- Aged care homes
Read more about transitioning to MyAgedCare or you can check your eligibility through the My Aged Care website (link opens in new window).
VisAbility low vision services are available through a fee-for-service arrangement, which means that your fees are paid out-of-pocket.
Self-funding for services may be an option if:
- You don’t qualify for government funding such as NDIS or My Aged Care
- You want to purchase extra services or support, on top of your NDIS or My Aged Care plan
- You want to purchase an item or piece of equipment and don’t want to wait for your funding or entitlement to be assessed.
If you’re interested in self-funding and would like to discuss your options, please contact us to discuss our fee schedule.
If your GP refers you for support from Allied Health Services from VisAbility, you may be eligible to receive a Medicare rebate.
For more information visit Medicare (link opens in new window).
Applying for VisAbility services
Whether you’re an individual, family member, carer or health professional, complete our online referral form to start receiving services.
Benefits for people who are legally blind
Aside from service funding options, people who are legally blind can access a number of benefits and concessions including:
People who are living with blindness or low vision, may be eligible to receive the “Blind Pension”, which generally refers to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) link opens in new window).
The “Blind Pension” provides financial support for a either a single person or someone part of a couple, who are permanently, legally blind.
“Blind Pension” eligibility
If you are permanently and legally blind there are two variants of “Blind Pension” that you may be eligible to receive:
- If you are under the age of 66, and unable to work, you may qualify for the Disability Support Pension (Blind).
- If you are over the current retirement age of 66, you may be eligible for the Age Pension (Blind) (link opens in new window).
“Blind Pension” assets test
Neither variation of the “Blind Pension” is means tested (your assets and money in the bank are not taken into account), but the amount received will depend on your own individual circumstances.
Benefits for seniors who are legally blind
Seniors, over the current retirement age of 66, who are legally blind, may be eligible to claim the Age Pension (Blind).
Alongside this, you may qualify for MyAgedCare funding for your supports and services.
People living with vision impairment are entitled to travel free of charge on TransPerth Metro and TransWA Regional services upon production of a Vision Impairment Travel Pass, which can be issued by VisAbility in WA and in Tasmania.
Contact us today to request your free Vision Impairment Travel pass.
Visit TransPerth’s website (link opens in new window) for more information about their Disability Assistance facilities including Braille and large format timetables.
Taxi Users Subsidy Scheme
The Taxi Users Subsidy Scheme (TUSS) (link opens in new window) is available to some people who live with disability – for more information, visit the Department of Transport website.
Other benefits for people living with blindness or vision impairment
Individuals with low or no vision may be entitled to a number of financial entitlements, depending on your individual circumstances: