January 2015

Katherine Hill, Abigail Davis, Donald Hirsch, Matt Padley and Noel Smith, Centre for Research in Social Policy – University of Loughborough

What is the cost of living for a person with sight loss? Research conducted for the Thomas Pocklington Trust by a team from the Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University and University Campus, Suffolk has found it can cost £249 a week for a person with a sight loss to achieve the minimum income standard. This is £50 more than the minimum income standard of £199 for a sighted person.

Key facts: Minimum Income Standard

  • The Minimum Income Standard is the income that people need in order to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living in the United Kingdom today.
  • The budget for a single person, of working age, living alone in the community and eligible for certification as sight impaired is £50 more than the minimum income standard of £199 a week.
  • Most of the additional ongoing costs are to do with extra expenses in day-to-day life including paying for domestic help and appropriate household goods and additional expenses to travel and take part in social activities.
  • Most specialised additional costs involve technological items related to sight loss, such as assistive computer software, a video magnifier, vision aids and complex prescription spectacles, and are one-off expenses.
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is based on an assessment of individual need and is granted to help towards the extra costs arising from the impact of a disability, health condition or impairment. There is a risk that the significant additional costs incurred by a person who is sight impaired identified in this study are not recognised and may not be eligible for this benefit.

How can this research help?

The evidence can be used to inform eligibility criteria and assessment for benefits, including the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), so that where additional costs occur for someone who is sight impaired but not eligible for benefits they could now be considered.

Links: 

Research Findings: Defining a Minimum Income Standard for People who are Sight Impaired – PDF version and Word version