Registration: the facts
Being registered following sight loss can be an unsettling and confusing experience. Visibility Scotland can help.
What is registration?
Your ophthalmologist (eye doctor) may suggest registration if you have significant sight loss that is unlikely to improve. There are two levels of registration: sight impaired (partially sighted) and severely sight impaired (blind).
Each local authority holds the sight loss register for their area. This information helps them plan and provide local services for people who are visually impaired.
Your ophthalmologist will complete a form confirming that you are eligible to be registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired, depending on your level of vision.
They will ask you for permission to pass your details to your local authority. With your agreement, your local authority will add your name to their register. Remember that registration is your choice.
Your local authority will contact you to arrange an assessment. There may be a wait for this. The support they provide may include aids and equipment or training to help you do things for yourself and be more confident outside.
If you are not registered you may still be able to receive support from your local authority. If you are registered, the local authority is obliged to provide an assessment of your needs.
What are the benefits of registration?
Registration provides access to local help and support. There are several concessions you can apply for following registration. These vary depending on your level of registration.
Some of the concessions are listed below.
If you are registered as sight impaired you will be entitled to:
- free travel on buses, trains and some ferries in Scotland
- free directory enquiries service through BT
If you are registered as severely sight impaired you will be entitled to the above plus:
- concessionary travel on buses and trains for a companion
- 50% off your TV licence
- an extra income tax allowance
- car parking concessions through the blue badge scheme (there may be a charge for the badge)
Being registered does not automatically entitle you to any welfare benefits, but it may make it easier for you to claim them. Registration confirms your sight loss and can be used as evidence towards your claim.
For more information, contact Visibility Scotland on 0141 332 4632 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or speak to your local authority.