Visually impaired people in Limerick at financial disadvantage

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Elaine Howley

Elaine Howley, Director of Policy and Advocacy with NCBI

Visually impaired people in Limerick are living at a financial disadvantage as it costs almost €45 more per week for a person with impaired vision to have a minimum standard of living.

This is according to the latest research conducted by the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) and Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice (VPSJ).

“Vision impairment is often a hidden disability. Those of us who live with it incurs extra costs every week so that we can just live ordinary lives,” said Elaine Howley, Director of Policy and Advocacy with NCBI.

The research, which looked at the Minimum Essential Standard of Living for a single adult who is visually impaired, shows a gap of 18% between the costs of a person with full sight and someone with impaired vision.

It costs €241.22 per week for someone with full vision to meet their minimum needs, while it costs a person with impaired vision an additional €44.54. This is to afford the additional goods and services necessary to meet their physical, psychological and social needs at a minimum acceptable level, bringing the weekly cost up to €285.76.

“Some of these costs are directly related to low vision, such as magnifiers, expensive lenses/sunglasses and eye drops,” added Ms. Howley. Other costs mentioned included taxis due to insufficient public transport systems and assistance with household tasks.

Dr Bernadette Mac Mahon, Director of the VPSJ’s Research Centre said the highlighted areasmake it possible for people with vision impairments to have a Minimum Essential Standard of Living”.

“These costs do not seem to be taken into consideration by decision-makers when determining entitlement rates,” she concluded.

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