We are here to help anyone who has served in the Armed Forces, or who has done National Service, and who is now living with significant sight loss.

How to apply:

If this sounds like you, or someone you care for, applying for our free support is easy.

We want to make applying for support either for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, as simple as possible. Just follow these few steps and you’ll be well on your way to joining our other 4,700 veteran beneficiaries.

  1. Call us free on 0800 389 7979, complete our application form request or download our application form.
  2. Send us the completed application form.
  3. Once we have the form, we will contact the service records office and your eye specialist.
  4. We may ask the applicant to visit our ophthalmic clinic in London. If travelling is difficult, we can make alternative arrangements.

Once you have become a beneficiary, one of our Community Support Workers will visit you at home. They will discuss your needs, give you advice and may suggest a visit to one of our centres in Brighton or Llandudno.

They may also recommend training in mobility, independent living skills, using low vision equipment and IT, either at one of our centres or in your home.

To qualify for support from Blind Veterans UK, you need to meet two criteria:

 

1. Military service

You need to have served in either:

  • UK Armed Forces, including National Service or the Reserves.
  • Served during WWII in the Merchant Navy, or in Polish/Indian forces under British command.
  • As a reservist, you need to have either completed at least one year's satisfactory service after training (qualified for bounty) or less time if blinded on duty.

2. Sight loss criteria

To meet our ophthalmic criteria, you need to present with visual acuities in both eyes which are equal to (or worse than) 6/60 or counting fingers.

With certain ophthalmic conditions where field loss is a factor we request field test results and take these into consideration when determining whether or not an applicant meets our ophthalmic criteria.

If you are a vision-impaired ex-Service man or woman, or care for someone who is, you can find out more by phoning 0800 389 7979 or emailing us

Membership questions and answers

  • How do I apply for membership?

    There are a number of ways in which you can apply for membership of our organisation.

    1. PHONE
    Please give our Membership Department a call on FREEPHONE 0800 389 7979 - they’d be delighted to talk to you about the application process. The team will provide you with all of the information you could possibly need and will answer any questions you may have. They will also send you a pack through the post which includes a brochure detailing our services, and an application form which you will need to complete & return.

    2. ONLINE
    Submit your details using the link below:

    https://www.blindveterans.org.uk/how-we-can-help/apply-for-free-support/apply-for-free-support-application-form/

    3. POST
    Download a form to print and send by post here.

     

  • Does the membership have a cost?

    No! Membership is free, but entirely dependent on meeting our service and ophthalmic criteria.

  • What is the Blind Veterans UK service criteria?

    All prospective members will need to have served in one of the following:

    • UK Regular Armed Forces, (which includes National Service)
    • UK Reserve Armed Forces (Territorial Army etc)
    • Polish/Indian Forces Under British command
    • Merchant Navy within a combat zone in direct support of UK military forces
  • I have never served in the armed forces, but my partner has – Am I eligible to join?

    No, membership is currently only available to ex-servicemen and women themselves, and not their spouses or partners.

  • What is the Blind Veterans UK ophthalmic criteria?

    Blind Veterans UK recognises that there are dozens of eye conditions which can affect people in very different ways, which is why we have two distinct methods for assessing applicants.

    In order to meet our ophthalmic criteria, applicants reporting a loss of central vision must possess a visual acuity of 6/60 or worse in each eye. In practical terms this means that the individual in question would be unable to read below the top line of an eye chart with either eye. Central vision loss can be caused by a number of conditions, of which age-related macular degeneration is the most common.

    Blind Veterans UK appreciates that applicants diagnosed with conditions which cause peripheral vision loss such as glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa or optic neuritis often retain functional central vision, which is why they are not assessed on the basis of their acuities.

    Instead we require such applicants to have had a visual field test performed within the past 12 months. The Blind Veterans UK Membership team will write to the applicant’s eye clinic or opticians to acquire the results of these visual field tests. Once obtained these test results will be presented to our own consultant ophthalmologist, who will then determine whether or not the applicant in question is eligible for our support.

  • What happens if I don’t meet your sight loss criteria?

    If our consultant decides that your level of sight loss is below the threshold required for membership, we will place your application on ‘review’.

    This is a process where (having obtained your consent) we will keep your details on our database, in order for our Membership team to reassess your eligibility after a period of time determined/recommended by our consultant.

    If you experience further deterioration to your sight once placed on review, you can always ask for your case to be reassessed at any time by contacting the Membership team.

  • I can’t see well enough to complete an application form – can you help?

    Of course! As mentioned above simply call our Membership department on FREEPHONE 0800 389 7979; they would be more than happy to fill out an application form over the phone with you. (Please note that they will still have to send the completed form to you to sign).

  • I am completing this form on behalf of a family member/friend/patient – Can I sign it on their behalf?

    If you are signing this form on behalf of a family member or friend you must be able to prove that you have lasting power of attorney for (the) health and welfare of the individual in question. Blind Veterans UK will require a photocopy of the entire lasting power of attorney for health and welfare document; please include this information when returning a completed application form.

    Please note that if you have not been appointed as an ‘attorney’ then the applicant must sign the application form themselves.

  • I wish to return my completed application form – Where do I send it to?

    Once your application form has been completed & signed, please return it to the following address:
    Freepost RTLC-CLUG-GCXU
    Membership Department
    Blind Veterans UK
    12 – 14 Harcourt Street
    London, W1H 4HD

  • How long will it take to process my application?

    On average it takes between 6-8 weeks to process an application from the date a completed form is received. We would encourage applicants to provide as much supplementary evidence of their service history & sight loss as possible, in addition to a completed application form; this can dramatically reduce the time needed to process an application.

  • What supplementary evidence can I provide?

    If possible please supply photocopies of any recent correspondence from your consultant ophthalmologist or opticians which details your current visual acuities and condition(s).

    If you have been registered as Sight Impaired (partially sighted), or Severely Sight Impaired (blind), you should’ve been issued with a CVI – a ‘Certificate of Vision Impairment’. If you do not have a copy of this document in your possession you can obtain a facsimile from either your eye clinic, your GP or your local Social Care provider. Again, if possible please provide a photocopy of this entire document; in many instances a CVI will contain all of the ophthalmic information we require for our assessment purposes.

    Additionally, if you have any official documents from your time in service which explicitly specifies your regiment, date of enlistment, date of discharge and rank on discharge please provide copies of these as well. Doing so may mean that we will not have to write to the relevant branch of the MOD to confirm your service history, which obviously means a reduction to the application processing time.

  • I don’t have any supplementary evidence – Can I still apply for membership?

    Of course! Providing additional documentation is recommended, but not mandatory.

    Don’t worry if you do not have any correspondence which confirms your service history/current level of sight loss. All we need from you is a completed, signed application form.

  • Where can I obtain a copy of the Blind Veterans UK brochure?

    Every prospective member who requests an application form directly from our Membership team will also be sent a copy of our latest brochure which outlines the benefits of becoming a member and details the various types of services we offer.