People over State Pension age with eyesight issues could be due up to £434 extra each month

People over State Pension age with eyesight issues could be due up to £434 extra each month

An estimated two million people across Great Britain are living with eyesight issues or a degenerative eye condition. More than 59,000 working age adults under 65 are receiving extra financial support through Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Adult Disability Payment (ADP), while 48,695 people over State Pension age are getting weekly help through Attendance Allowance.

Three out of four people with a visual impairment are aged over 65 with around 8,000 people of working age registered blind or partially sighted. For adults who lose their sight in later life, it can be very distressing as they feel they are no longer able to enjoy some of the activities they love to do, such as driving, taking part in sports, reading and cooking.




Mobility can also be affected and with that may come independence and travel issues, although it is important to be aware that the dedicated disability benefit for people over State Pension age – Attendance Allowance – does not include a component for mobility needs.

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It currently provides extra financial support to nearly 1.6 million people across Great Britain, including 140,716 living in Scotland.

The benefit is designed to help people of State Pension age with daily living expenses and can also help them stay independent in their own home for longer.

Older people claiming Attendance Allowance for sight loss conditions

The latest DWP figures show that in November 2023 there were 48,695 people receiving either £68.10 or £101.75 each week for a ‘Visual Disorder or Disease’.

This overall figure includes claimants in:

  • Scotland: 4,426
  • England: 41,090
  • Wales: 3,063
  • Living Abroad: 114
  • Total: 48,695

Common eye conditions affecting older people

There are over 45 eye conditions affecting adults across the country, these include:

  • Cataract
  • Myopia (short-sightedness)
  • Macular Degeneration – Wet and Dry (also referred to as age-related MD)
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • Retina and optic nerve – other diseases of / type not known
  • Diabetic Retinopathy (a condition that can cause vision loss in people with diabetes)

If you, or someone you know, is under State Pension age has a sight condition, you should consider making a new claim for PIP or ADP – find out more here.

If you, or someone you know, is over State Pension age and living with a sight condition, even really high myopia (short sightedness), you should consider making a claim for Attendance Allowance.

Sight loss conditions

These are common health issues affecting eyesight that are being supported through disability benefits, but if your condition is not listed, it doesn’t mean it’s not supported.

Diseases of conjunctiva, cornea, eyelids and lacrimal apparatus

  • Conjunctiva, cornea, eyelids and lacrimal apparatus – Other diseases of / type not known
  • Corneal ulceration
  • Entropion
  • Herpes zoster – ophthalmic
  • Keratitis
  • Keratoconus
  • Orbital cellulitis
  • Ptosis
  • Scleritis

Uveitis

  • Anterior Uveitis (iritis)
  • Chorioretinal disorders – Other / type not known
  • Posterior (choroiditis)

Glaucoma

Visual injuries to the eye

Vitreous disease

  • Posterior vitreous detachment
  • Vitreous disease – Other / type not known
  • Vitreous haemorrhage

Diseases of the retina and optic nerve

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Hypertensive retinopathy
  • Macular degeneration
  • Optic atrophy
  • Optic neuritis
  • Retina and optic nerve – Other diseases of / type not known
  • Retinal artery occlusion
  • Retinal detachment
  • Retinal vein occlusion
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • Retinopathy – Other / type not known

Cataract

Refractive errors

  • Astigmatism
  • Hypermetropia (long-sighted)
  • Myopia (short-sighted)
  • Presbyopia
  • Refractive errors – Other / type not known
Attendance Allowance could help people who are severely short-sighted or have eye conditions including cataract, glaucoma or macular degeneration.(Image: Getty)

Disorders of eye movement

  • Eye movement – Other disorders of / type not known
  • Nystagmus
  • Strabismus (Squint)

Visual field defects

  • Amblyopia
  • Cortical blindness
  • Diplopia (double vision)
  • Hemianopia
  • Quadrantanopia
  • Scotoma
  • Tunnel vision
  • Visual field defects – Other / type not known

Below is an overview of the benefit and how to make a new claim to DWP. Full details about claiming Attendance Allowance can be found on the GOV.UK website here.

Latest Attendance Allowance News

What is Attendance Allowance?

Attendance Allowance helps with additional costs if you have a physical or mental disability or illness severe enough that makes it hard for you to look after yourself – it does not cover mobility needs. You do not need to have someone caring for you in order to claim.

Who can make a claim?

You should consider applying for Attendance Allowance if you have a disability or illness and need help or supervision throughout the day or at times during the night -even if you do not currently get that help.

This might include:

  • Help with your personal care – for example getting dressed, eating or drinking, getting in and out of bed, bathing or showering and going to the toilet

  • Help to stay safe

You should also consider applying it if you have difficulties with personal tasks, for example if they take you a long time, you experience pain or you need physical help, such as a chair to lean on.

Attendance Allowance is not just for people with a physical disability or illness.

You should also consider claiming if you need help or supervision throughout the day or night and have:

How much could I get on Attendance Allowance?

You could get either £72.65 for the lower rate or £108.55 for the higher rate. Payments are usually made in installments, every four weeks.

You can spend the money however you like and it could help you stay independent in your own home for longer.

This might include:

Can I claim even if I have savings and other income?

Yes. Attendance Allowance isn’t means-tested so it doesn’t matter what other money you have coming in or how much you have in savings either – there’s no limit.

It’s tax-free and you’ll be exempt from the Benefit Cap so you won’t have money taken away from any other benefits.

Latest State Pension News

Will Attendance Allowance affect my State Pension?

No, it won’t affect your State Pension and you can even claim it if you’re still working and earning money.

How does Attendance Allowance affect other benefits?

The other benefits you get might increase if you get Attendance Allowance, these include:

You can check your State Pension age on the GOV.UK website here.

How do I make a claim?

You will need to complete a long claim form when you apply for Attendance Allowance.

It might seem daunting at first but help is available from your nearest Citizens Advice, so don’t let the form put you off applying.

If you’d prefer to do it yourself you can follow the Citizens Advice guide on how to fill in your claim form here.

Full details of how to get the application form by post or over the phone can be found on the Gov.uk website here.

What happens if I am about to reach State Pension age?

If you’re thinking about applying for Attendance Allowance when you reach State Pension age, you might be better off claiming PIP straight away.

If you claim PIP and receive it, the amount you get will depend on your circumstances and how your disability or illness affects you.

Find out more about claiming PIP on the GOV.UK website here.

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Who cannot claim Attendance Allowance?

You won’t be able to get Attendance Allowance if you already have PIP or DLA to pay for your care. If you apply for Attendance Allowance while receiving DLA, the DWP will usually reassess your DLA award instead.

You can renew your PIP or DLA when the existing award ends as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria. If your renewal is unsuccessful you can apply for Attendance Allowance instead.

Find out more about Attendance Allowance on the GOV.UK website here.

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