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Visually Impaired: Mobility Allowance

Volume 456: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received in favour of allowing visually impaired people to access the higher rate of mobility allowance under disability living allowance; and what response he has made to such representations. (116879)

Since July 2006 the Department has received 277 letters from Members of Parliament, and a further eight letters from members of the public about the access to disability living allowance higher-rate mobility component for visually impaired people. In that period we have also answered seven parliamentary questions, including this one, on this topic.

The higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance is designed for people who are physically unable, or virtually unable, to walk. It is also available to people who are both deaf and blind and require the assistance of another person to walk to any intended or required destination when out of doors, because their particular combination of disabilities means that they are, in effect, virtually unable to walk. In addition, visually impaired people who do not qualify for the higher rate mobility component can still qualify for the lower rate of the mobility component if they require guidance or supervision from another person when walking out of doors on unfamiliar routes.

We are discussing with the Royal National Institute for the Blind whether there is scope for improving the help with mobility-related extra costs for registered blind people who have no useful sight for orientation.