Low income and visual impairment: Benefits and wages meet minimum income standards?

September 2017

Professor Donald Hirsch, Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP), University of Loughborough

This study considers the extent to which benefits and minimum wages can provide visually impaired people with part or all of the income they need in order to meet a minimum income standard (MIS).

Key Findings:

•  Additional disability cost benefits often fall short of covering the extra costs visually impaired people face.
•  Receipt of PIP or Attendance Allowance can also trigger supplements to other benefits, such as ESA and Pension Credit, for those who receive them. It is therefore necessary to take into account incomes from all sources combined when considering whether ‘universal’ disability benefits meet the extra costs that visually impaired people face.


•  Priority is given to ensuring that PIP claimants receive the correct award in the initial assessment.
•  The adequacy of benefits for visually impaired people who work occasionally is reviewed as the Universal Credit system rolls out.
•  The Attendance Allowance benefit is continued, as it contributes greatly to visually impaired people’s abilities to reach an adequate overall income.

This research is the first phase of a wider study. Phase two will consist of interviews with visually impaired people with incomes below the MIS to explore their lived experiences of coping on a low income. Findings from the second phase of the research are expected to be available in April 2018.


Full Report: Low Income and Visual Impairment: Do Benefits and Wages Meet Minimum Income Standards? – PDF version and Word version.

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