18.03.2009

Blind people gain access to benefit

Blind people gain access to benefit

By Martin Burns

People suffering severe visual impairment are now able to claim more in benefits after a bill amendment was passed in the House of Commons.

The change to the Welfare Reform Bill was put forward by John Robertson MP of Labour.

He told the house: "There is no good reason for discriminating between someone who faces physical barriers to mobility and someone who is unable to move around safely and independently due to blindness."

Now the government has supported the move to let blind people claim more money each week as part of a mobility benefit.

Chief executive of the blindness charity RNIB Lesley-Anne Alexander called it a "fantastic victory".

Among RNIB"s activities is Talk and Support, which forms telephone groups for visually impaired people.

The support scheme also involves a telephone book club.

Members have described the service as "a lifeline" and spoken of the confidence it has given to them as well as how it has refreshed their passion for reading.

by Alexa Kaczka


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