Living with blindness can present unique challenges, but it certainly doesn’t define one’s potential for a fulfilling life. In the UK, numerous blind individuals embrace life to the fullest, thanks to various government assistance programs that provide crucial support and opportunities for the disabled. Among these initiatives is the Blind Person’s Allowance, a valuable scheme designed to empower and uplift visually impaired individuals.
In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of the Blind Person’s Allowance, uncovering how it can maximize your financial well-being and open doors to a more prosperous future. Let’s dive into this essential scheme without further ado.
What Is the Blind Person’s Allowance?
The Blind Person’s Allowance is an addition to the Personal Allowance available to everyone who earns an income in the UK. For the tax year 2023/2024, all Income taxpayers are entitled to a Personal Allowance of £12,570. Earnings up to £12,570 are not subject to any Income Tax.
With the Blind Person’s Allowance, qualified individuals receive a supplementary £2,870 on top of the £12,570. This means that, for a blind person, no income tax is levied on salaries below £15,440 (i.e., £12,570 + £2,870).
Who Is Entitled to the Blind Person’s Allowance?
The criteria vary depending on the location. England and Wales have one set of rules, while Northern Ireland and Scotland have slightly different directives.
In England and Wales, the eligibility is qualified by registering with the local council as a person with an acute sight impairment or blindness together with a certificate from a medical practitioner such as a GP.
In Northern Ireland and Scotland, eligibility for the allowance is dictated by the inability to carry out work for which eyesight is required, coupled with a medical certificate from a doctor.
How To Make a Claim
Unlike the Personal Allowance, the Blind Person’s Allowance is not automatically awarded. An application must be made by contacting HMRC on 0300 200 3301. The HMRC is open between 8 am and 6 pm, Monday to Friday, except for Bank Holidays. You will need to follow the instructions from the HMRC and post or email the relevant documents, such as the letter from the doctor and the local council.
For eligible applicants who failed to apply in the past, claims can be backdated by 4 years. The Blind Person’s Allowance for the current and previous tax years are as follows:
Anyone who did not apply in the past is therefore entitled to an allowance incorporating these amounts.
Transferring the Blind Person’s Allowance
Those not earning an income or unable to use all their allowance can transfer some or all their allowance to their civil partner or spouse. The partner or spouse does not need to be blind, and the couple must live together. However, the two people do not need to live in the same home if the partner is:
- In prison
- Away on military duty
- In residential care, due to illness or old age
- Away from home due to work
If you have a civil partner or a spouse, you may also want to look into Married Couple’s Allowance. Those earning below the Personal Allowance threshold can transfer their allowance of £1,260 to their partner.
How To Make a Transfer?
To transfer the allowance to a partner or spouse, fill in form 575. You will need to print the form, complete it and send it to the address listed on the application. Alternatively, contact the HMRC. Their details and opening times are listed above under “How To Make a Claim.”
Living Your Best Life
In conclusion, the Blind Person’s Allowance serves as a vital lifeline for individuals facing both physical challenges and additional financial burdens due to blindness or visual impairment. With its welcome tax relief of £2,870 for the tax year 2023/2024, this valuable scheme enables eligible individuals to reduce their income tax and allocate more resources to essential aspects of life.
To make the most of this beneficial program, it’s essential to claim the Blind Person’s Allowance if you meet the eligibility criteria. By doing so, you can unlock financial support and embrace a brighter future, enjoying increased financial flexibility and security.