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Disability Living Allowance: Sight Impaired

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of visually impaired people who would be classified as having no useful sight for orientation purposes who are not in receipt of disability living allowance higher rate mobility component; what the eligibility criteria for this group are; and how much he estimates it would cost to change the rules so that this group received the component. (258248)

There is no accepted definition of “no useful sight for orientation purposes”. However, during helpful discussions with the RNIB they have suggested that this could be interpreted as meaning that a visually impaired person would have: no perception of light; perception of light only; perception of hand movement; or a visual acuity of 3/601 and either “total” or “extensive” loss of visual field. Using these definitions of visual impairment we estimate that, if implemented in 2010-11, we would require additional annual benefit expenditure of around £45 million to extend the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance to this group.

1 This means that a person with 3/60 can see at three metres an object which a person with normal vision can see at 60 metres.