Accessing benefits and funding for a person who is legally blind can be complex and time consuming and will vary from person to person.
Newly-diagnosed with vision impairment?
If your optometrist or opthalmologist has provided a diagnosis of vision impairment, please contact our friendly team to find out what low vision services and support we can provide to you both now and into the future. There are also a number of low vision support groups within Perth and across the state.
What financial benefits can a person who is blind receive?
This is one of the most common questions we are asked. Eligibility for benefits and funding are dependent on individual circumstances and we are unable to give specific advice or process applications. Please contact Centrelink to discuss your personal situation and eligibility.
Funding options for low vision services
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 (link opens in new window) 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
NDIS participants who live with vision impairment are able to get funding for low vision supports including (but not limited to):
- Assistive Technology
Equipment and devices to get the most out of technology, including your phone, tablet or computer.
- 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. We have a range of practical training courses designed to help you retain independence if you live with vision impairment.
- Accessible Information
Get documents translated into alternative formats, such as audio, braille or large print. Alternatively, our Disability Access Consultants can work with you and your employer to help to create an accessible workplace through training, equipment and/or modifications to the work area.
- Devices and living aids
Magnifiers, lighting equipment, low vision aids and devices to help pick the right colour clothes, cook, tell the time and more.
Please 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 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 complete our enquiry form for self-funders to discuss our fee schedule.
If your GP refers you for allied health services support from VisAbility, you may be eligible to receive a Medicare rebate.
For more information visit Medicare (link opens in new window).
Getting support from VisAbility
Whether you’re an individual, family member, or carer please complete our initial enquiry form to get started.
Health Professionals: If you are a health professional looking to make a referral, please use our low vision medical certificate (online referral form) to make your referral.
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
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 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 individual circumstances:
- Mobility Allowance (link opens in new window)
- Carer Payment and Carer Allowance (link opens in new window)
- Companion Card (link opens in new window)
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs – Card Holders (link opens in new window)
- Pensioner Education Supplement (link opens in new window)
- ACROD Parking Program (link opens in new window)
How to get support
Please complete the form below to make an initial enquiry about the low vision services and support we can provide. Our Client Experience Team will contact you to discuss your individual needs both now and into the future.
If you are a provider and wish to refer a client, please use our low vision medical certificate (online referral form) to make your referral.