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Blind missing out on millions in support.


BLIND people could be missing out on millions of pounds in benefits they should be entitled to, it's been claimed.

In 2010/11 484 blind or partially-sighted people in Wales were able to claim just under pounds 1m in benefits they weren't aware they were entitled to thanks to a welfare right service set up by the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind).

That service is now available in Gwynedd and Anglesey - aiming to help sight loss sufferers to fill out benefit forms as well as help to get blue badges among others - whether or not they are registered blind or partially sighted.

The service is funded for two years by the Big Lottery Fund.

RNIB Welfare Rights Officer for Gwynedd and Anglesey Ellen Lloyd said: "Sight loss can result in additional expenses. The service will help them to find out exactly what they are able to claim for.

"We can help them to fill out forms or complete them with the client, challenge benefit awardsand provide representation at tribunals if necessary. It is our goal to ensure that everyone receives everything that they are entitled to."

Registering as blind with local councils can make it easier for sufferers to get practical support social services.

Ms Lloyd said: "It can also be a 'passport'' to getting concessions and benefits, such as travel, parking and TV licence concessions."

They are also entitled to a tax allowance worth pounds 1,890 in 2009-10, free NHS sight tests, parking concessions and free postage on some items.

RNIB Cymru represents 100,000 people in Wales who suffer with serious sight loss, It also provided practical solutions to everyday challenges and campaigns for the inclusion of people with sight loss.

If you live in Gwynedd or Anglesey and would like to have your benefits assessed, call North Wales Society for the Blind on 01248 353604. FIGHTING FOR ALLOWANCE PATRICIA Hamilton is registered as partially sighted. She has Macular Degeneration in both eyes and only has her peripheral vision left.

Because of her sight loss, it has become very difficult to cope with day to day chores and she relies heavily on her husband.

Mrs Hamilton was referred to RNIB Cymru by her Rehabilitation Worker who is based at North Wales Society for the Blind.

Ellen said: "When I visited Mrs Hamilton it became clear she ought to qualify for Attendance Allowance. Mrs Hamilton was unaware such a benefit existed.

"Mrs Hamilton''s first application was rejected. We strongly believe Mrs Hamilton is entitled to lower rate AA, and we are now in the process of going through a reconsideration.


Patricia Hamilton from Tregarth who suffers from Macular Degeneration with RNIB welfare rights officer Ellen Lloyd
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 31, 2011
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