CRSP research for RNIB reveals that a quarter of blind and partially sighted people miss out on their disability benefits

New research from the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, produced for RNIB, reveals that more than one in four blind and partially sighted people (83,000) miss-out on the disability benefits they’re entitled to.

Applications being refused and issues with submitting applications were thought to be key factors in the substantial deficit in the take-up of disability benefits among people who are registered blind or partially sighted. Poor communication from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the challenge of getting to face-to-face appointments were also cited as barriers in the research.

In RNIB’s experience, people with sight loss in employment are also susceptible to barriers caused by welfare stigma and internalised guilt in claiming benefits while in work. Blind and partially sighted people from ethnic minorities are more likely to face multiple barriers to receiving benefits, including potential language barriers and a lack of knowledge and experience regarding the social security system.

This analysis also found benefit claimants can experience confusion about how disability benefit award decisions are made, what evidence is required and the timings at each stage of a benefit application.

Dr Juliet Stone, an author of the report, said: “We know that blind and partially sighted people face multiple barriers to applying for benefits, including a lack of tailored support in the application process, and negative perceptions of the social security system. Our research has highlighted the importance of addressing these shortcomings, with tens of thousands of blind or partially sighted people missing out on disability benefits to which they are entitled. Improving uptake of benefits is not a straightforward task, but without addressing the structural and practical obstacles to claiming disability benefits, thousands of blind and partially sighted people in the UK will remain vulnerable to financial hardship.”

Read the full report here