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Thousands of people with eyesight issues could be due extra £434 a month

Roughly two million people across the UK live with either vision problems or degenerative eye diseases.

Meanwhile, over 59,000 adults under the age of 65 receive additional financial help through Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Adult Disability Payment (ADP) in Scotland. A further 48,695 over the the State Pension age claim a weekly income through Attendance Allowance.

Out of those registered with visual impairments, three-quarters are aged over 65 while around 8,000 working-age people are registered blind or partially sighted. Adults who begin losing their eyesight later in life may also experience issues with mobility, however, the key disability benefit for those over the State Pension age, Attendance Allowance, does not cover additional mobility requirements.

The tax-free benefit, which is issued by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), currently provides extra financial support to almost 1.6 million people across the UK. It’s key purpose is to assist pensioners with daily living costs while helping to secure their independence at home, reports the Daily Record.

Older people claiming Attendance Allowance for sight loss conditions.

Recent figures from the DWP shows that a total of 48,695 people were claiming either £68.10 or £101.75 a week in November 2023 for a ‘Visual Disorder or Disease’.

This overall number includes claimants suffering from:

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

Common eye conditions affecting older people

More than 45 eye conditions affect adults nationwide. This includes:

  • 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, under the State Pension age suffers from a sight condition, you could file a new claim for PIP – further details around this can be found here. However, if you, or someone you know, is over the State Pension age while living with a sight condition, then a claim for Attendance Allowance might be better suited.

Sight loss conditions

A wide range of common health issue that affect eyesight can qualify for disability benefits. The following list is not exclusive and if you, or someone you know, suffers from a condition that affects your eyesight not mentioned, it may still qualify you for extra support.

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


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


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


Refractive errors

  • Astigmatism
  • Hypermetropia (long-sighted)
  • Myopia (short-sighted)
  • Presbyopia
  • Refractive errors – Other / type not known

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.

What is Attendance Allowance?

Attendance Allowance is a financial aid designed to assist with additional costs if you have a severe physical or mental disability or illness that makes self-care challenging. It’s important to note, however, that it does not cover mobility needs and having a carer is not a prerequisite for claiming.

Who is eligible?

If you have a disability or illness and require help or supervision throughout the day or during parts of the night – even if you’re not currently receiving this assistance – you should consider applying for Attendance Allowance.

This could include:

  • Assistance with personal care tasks such as dressing, eating or drinking, getting in and out of bed, bathing or showering, and using the toilet.
  • Help to ensure your safety.

You should also think about applying if you struggle with personal tasks, for instance, if they take a long time, cause pain, or if you need physical support like a chair to lean on.

Attendance Allowance isn’t solely for individuals with a physical disability or illness.

You should also contemplate claiming if you require help or supervision throughout the day or night and have:.

  • A mental health condition.
  • Learning difficulties.
  • A sensory condition – such as being deaf or blind.

How much can I receive from Attendance Allowance?

You could be eligible for either £72.65 at the lower rate or £108.55 at the higher rate. Payments are typically made every four weeks, in arrears.

The money can be spent as you see fit and could potentially help you maintain independence in your own home for longer.

This might include:

Attendance Allowance can be used to cover various costs such as taxi fares, bill payments, and hiring a cleaner or gardener.

Regardless of your savings or other income, you are eligible to claim Attendance Allowance as it is not means-tested. There’s no limit on how much you have in savings or other income sources.

The benefit is tax-free and exempt from the Benefit Cap, ensuring that no money is deducted from any other benefits you receive.

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 get 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.

Who cannot claim Attendance Allowance?

You won’t be able to get Attendance Allowance if you already get PIP or DLA to pay for your care. If you apply for Attendance Allowance while getting 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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