Financial help if you are blind

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What financial help is available?

If you are blind, you may be able to receive an income support pension or payment paid under special rules. Income support pensions and payments include:

  • Service Pension
  • Social Security Age Pension
  • Income Support Supplement
  • Veteran Payment‌
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Who can receive income support payments due to blindness?

To be assessed under the special rules we will need a report from an ophthalmologist‌ measured using the Snellen Scale saying either:

  • you have total loss of sight
  • your corrected visual acuity‌ (the best vision you can achieve with glasses or contact lenses) is less than 6/60 in both eyes
  • you have visual field deficits (your vision will be limited in certain directions). For example, you may have some vision around the sides but be unable to see straight ahead. That causes as much vision impairment as a corrected visual acuity of less than 6/60 in both eyes.

You may then be assessed under the special rules if you are permanently blind and an Australian resident.

You can be eligible for payments due to blindness even if you work.

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How your payments may be affected

If you are blind, your income support payment will not be reduced because of your income or assets.

This may mean you can get an income support payment that you wouldn’t otherwise receive because your income or assets are too high.

If we pay you as a member of a couple, and you are blind but your partner is not, your combined income and assets will still affect your partner's payment. This means your partner may receive a reduced rate of payment while you receive the maximum rate.

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How you claim

For information about how to claim, visit:

If you already get one of these payments but we are not assessing you as blind, contact us. You will need to supply a written report from your ophthalmologist confirming your blindness.

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What to tell us

If anything changes that could affect your entitlements, you need to let us know within 14 days (or 28 days if you receive the Remote Area Allowance or live overseas).

You need to tell us if you or your partner:

  • get compensation payments we don’t know about
  • leave Australia, even for a short time
  • start or stop being partnered‌‌. A partner is someone you are married to or in a marriage-like relationship with. You may be in a marriage-like relationship if you:
    • think of yourselves as a couple
    • share financial and household responsibilities
    • spend social and leisure time together; and
    • appear as a couple to the general community
  • start or stop paying rent, or change how much rent you pay
  • move into aged care
  • go into respite care for more than 14 days
  • go to prison, or get out of prison
  • have something else change that could affect your entitlements.

If you live with a partner who is not blind, you also need to tell us if you or your partner:

  • have a change in finances, aside from minor everyday fluctuations‌. Generally, you need to tell us when the value of your total financial assets changes by approximately $2,000
  • start or stop working, or the amount earned changes
  • take leave from a job and don’t plan to go back
  • start or stop receiving income from somewhere, such as an income stream, a rental property or a foreign pension
  • buy or sell shares or other investments
  • buy or sell your home or another property
  • lend or give away money or other assets
  • move house
  • have a dependent child who stops studying or moves out
  • have someone else move in or out of your home
  • move into a retirement village
  • start or close a business.
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Important information

  • If you are renting, your income and assets may affect the amount of Rent Assistance you get. This does not apply if you get the Income Support Supplement‌. Blind war widow(er)s are exempt from income and asset tests for all payments.
  • If you are moving into aged care, you will need to give us information about your income and assets. While they may not affect your payments from us, they will affect your home care package and aged care fees‌. If you get payments from us, we will do the income and assets assessment that will be used to work out your aged care fees.‌
  • If your income support payment is taxable, we will send you a payment summary at the end of the financial year. If your payment is non-taxable, we will send you a Medicare exemption certificate‌. If you are blind and get an income support payment, you may qualify for a Medicare levy exemption.‌
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