Category Archives: Info for the blind & visually impaired

Helpful tips from money expert Martin Lewis

The following information was in an article by money expert Martin Lewis and I thought it might be useful for many of you.

Check if you qualify for the blind person’s tax allowance

The blind person’s allowance gives you an extra amount of tax-free allowance (on top of your personal allowance), which means you can earn more before you start paying income tax.
For the 2022/23 tax year, it’s £2,600 – regardless of your age or income. You’ll need to contact HM Revenue & Customs to claim the allowance (it doesn’t apply automatically).
You can transfer your blind person’s allowance to your spouse or civil partner if you don’t pay tax or earn enough to use all of your allowance.

• Who’s eligible for the blind person’s allowance?

Get free help from sighted volunteers with the Be My Eyes app

A free app called Be My Eyes (available for iPhone and Android) aims to connect blind and sight-impaired people with over 2.8 million sighted volunteers through a live video call.
Simply visit the app whenever you need assistance (at any time of the day), and select ‘call first available volunteer’. The service can be used for anything from checking the expiry date on your milk, distinguishing between different coloured shirts, reading instructions or navigating new surroundings.
It’s worth noting, while the app is completely free to use, make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi if possible – otherwise it will use your mobile data.
There’s also a ‘specialised help’ function, which lets you call a limited number of companies via the app. There aren’t many on board yet, but when we checked, these included Clearblue,  Google’s disability support, Microsoft’s disability answer desk and the RNIB (plus Be My Eyes technical support).

Get 50% off your TV licence if you’re blind or severely sight-impaired

If you are blind or severely sight-impaired (or someone you live with is), you can get 50% off the cost of a TV licence, making it £79.50. Of course, it’s always worth checking whether you need a TV licence at all, as if you only watch Netflix or certain other catch-up services you may not.
To get the discount, you must provide TV Licensing with a photocopy of one of the following documents to confirm you’re certified as either blind or severely sight-impaired:
• The certificate or document issued by or on behalf of your local authority
• The certificate from your ophthalmologist
If you’re only partially sighted or sight-impaired, you won’t qualify for the concession. Details on how to apply for the discount are available on the TV Licensing website.

How to find programmes with audio description on Netflix, Prime Video and more

Audio description gives visually impaired viewers an extra description of what’s happening on screen. The streaming and catch-up services below offer this, but only on selected programmes. Here’s how to find them:

• All 4 has an Audio Described category. When we checked, we spotted The Great British Bake Off, Hollyoaks and The Handmaid’s Tale.

• Amazon Prime Video has a search function to help you find programmes with audio description, which are included with your Prime membership. Shows with this feature include Good Omens, The Grand Tour, Hanna and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.

• BBC iPlayer has an Audio Described category. When we checked, we spotted Peaky Blinders, Dragons’ Den and EastEnders.

• Netflix lists shows with audio description. When we checked, these included The Good Place, Suits and The Theory of Everything.
Now TV says it doesn’t currently offer audio description on any of its films or TV shows.