Changes to the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
From 11 April 2011 the rules for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will change making it possible for some severely sight impaired people to qualify for the higher rate of mobility component on the basis of their sight loss. The change is a direct result of a RNIB lead campaign supported by Action for Blind People, other charities and supporters.
Will you qualify?
To qualify you must:
- Be aged under 65 on 11 April 2011.
- Be certified/ registered as severely sight impaired/ blind
- Have a visual acuity, with appropriate corrective lenses if necessary, of less than 3/60 or
- Have a visual acuity of 3/60 or more, but less than 6/60, with appropriate corrective lenses if necessary, a complete loss of peripheral vision and a central vision of no more than 10 degrees in total (sometimes called tunnel vision).
Visual acuity is the measurement of your central vision and how well you can see detail. It is assessed using an eye test chart which is called the Snellen scale. Your visual field is what you can see around you; this is also called your peripheral vision.
Visual field means the visual field of both eyes in cases where a person has both eyes. Visual acuity means the combined visual acuity of both eyes where a person has both eyes. This is often shown on the CVI (Certificate of Visual Impairment) as ‘best corrected with both eyes’.
If your sight is too poor to be measured in this way, for example you can only 'count fingers', or you only have light and dark perception, you will qualify.
If your visual acuity is better than 6/60 you will not qualify, for example if your acuity is 6/36 or 6/18.
What do I need to do?
The Pensions, Disability and Carers Service (PDCS) has now completed the exercise to contact people who currently receive the lower rate of mobility component on the basis of sight loss to establish whether they may qualify under the new criteria for the higher rate. The dedicated phone line that was set up to check your eligibility is now closed.
If you have been contacted by the PDCS, they will provide you with a decision as quickly as possible. However, where more medical information is needed it may take longer before a decision can be made.
If you have received form DLA77 in the post and need help completing it, or if you prefer to provide information over the phone, you can contact the Disability and Carers Service Helpline on 08457 123456, or you can call us for advice on 0303 123 9999.
If you currently receive the lower rate mobility component, think that you might qualify under the new criteria and that you should have been contacted, call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 and one of our advisors will help you.
If you are entitled to receive the higher rate, you will not lose out on any money as your payment will be backdated to April 11 provided you meet the criteria.
What’s it worth?
The higher rate of the mobility component is currently worth £51.40 per week compared to £19.55 for the lower rate. Entitlement to the higher rate mobility component opens the door to the Motability scheme, Road Tax exemption and the Blue Badge scheme.
Speak to someone
If you are having any problems our highly experienced regional teams of independent living coordinators and welfare rights officers can advise you on all issues relating to social security benefits and other entitlements, together with advice, tips and hints about filling in forms and disputing decisions. We also have information about local services who may be able to complete forms on your behalf and go with you to appeals.
If you need advice and would like to speak with someone then please contact your local Action team and they will put you in touch with someone who can help. You can also contact us through the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 and ask to be referred to your local Action team.
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