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.
Coping with Covid and the lockdown is immensely challenging as a visually impaired or severely sight impaired person. However, there is a useful resource that can help get us through it which is available for anybody to access.
That resource is the Sight Advice frequently asked questions web page. The page answers questions which many people with sight loss have regarding Covid and how it effects us. These topics include, getting about whilst lockdown measures are in place, how to be guided safely, how to maintain social distancing as a visually impaired person and quite a bit more.
You can read the frequently asked questions web page by visiting: https://www.sightadvicefaq.org.uk/coronavirus-information?utm_campaign=816377_Services newsletter April 2021&utm_medium=email&utm_source=RNIB&dm_i=4UA0,HHX5,45BS6A,22O5S,1
A superb video featuring one of my clients on how to recognise when a blind person with a guide dog needs help during these challenging times. Please watch and share: https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.ladbible.com/news/viral-how-to-tell-if-someone-with-a-guide-dog-needs-some-help-20200831.amp.html
Something a bit different for you today.
A couple of good friends of mine, Graham D and CJ, have recently started a pod cast called the Virosis Clothing pod cast. Virosis Clothing is a new alternative T-shirt enterprise created by Graham D, whose ethos and branding are all about facing adversity, overcoming challenges and emerging relentless through whatever life throws at you. The pod cast is an extension of those concepts, has focus around music, movies, gaming and relaxed humour. The guys play new songs from up and coming alternative/metal/hardcore bands from all around the world and often include interviews with those bands. The show often has some sort of slightly off the wall segment such as a death match between sci fi heroes and villains, which are always good fun. The whole pod cast has a really chilled vibe and is always fun to listen to. The T-shirt designs are really cool too and tie in superbly to the “Emerge Relentless” theme.
One of the features the guys have included on the show is interviews with people who have real life stories of facing adversity, overcoming the odds, persisting against where others have given up etc. I was thrilled when the guys asked me to be their first interview to tell the story of my sight loss, how I handled it, how I adapted to living with no sight and ultimately, where I am today in terms of having overcome the loss of my sight. It was a really great interview and we had a lot of fun doing it. We ended up with so much that they decided to split it across the first three episodes of the pod cast. The guys have given me exclusive permission to share the interview in isolation in its entirety here. So, without further ado, here it is: JG Virosis pod cast interview, facing adversity 2019.mp3
If you would like to check out the pod cast, simply search for Virosis Clothing in your chosen pod cast app.
You can follow Virosis Clothing on Facebook at
A couple of months ago I posted that Steve Bennett from Dolphin Computer Access and I were interviewed on RNIB’s Tech Talk radio show. On the show Steve and I talk about some of Dolphin’s products, specifically SuperNova, Guide, EasyReader app for iOS and Android and the new Reader Pod. The show is now available to listen to at the following link:
Have been working with two clients today on #VoiceOver for #iOS. Very different requirements from the two of them. One very focused on wanting to be socially active with the use of email, txt messaging, some word processing and some #Facebook use. The other purely focused on accessing audio books and ebooks through #Audible and #DolphinEasyReader as well as using her device for assisting in day to day living. So we’ve done some work around using the built in magnifier app on her device and utilising several of the features in #SeeingAI as well. For me this really helps highlight just how useful an iOS device with a couple of apps installed can be to a person with sight loss. I think it clearly demonstrates that people can have such different requirements for their tech yet still have that ever present goal of remaining as independent as possible. I love my job.