A certificate of blindness/visual impairment grants its holders rehabilitation services, rights and various benefits (such as income tax exemptions, Bezeq phone bill discounts and more). For details on the benefits the certificate grants see the Blindness and Visual Impairment portal.
- The certificate can be given permanently or for a limited period of time depending on the situation. The expiration date is listed on a certificate that is for a limited period.
- The certificate eligibility review process is also used to check eligibility to receive a special monthly allowance for the blind/visually impaired
- In accordance with the National Insurance Institute circular as of 02.16.2015, the blind and visually impaired are not required to undergo vision tests both in the National Insurance Institute and in RASHAT (Vision, Hearing and Technology) service that is a part of the disabilities department (previously the Blind Services division). One of the following tests is sufficient:
- If someone contacts the National Insurance Institute first, their file will be reviewed by them. If they are found to have defective eyesight of at least 90%, the National Institute will send the assessment to the RASHAT service, who will act according to the National Insurance Institute's assessment.
- One who is referred to a test with the RASHAT service, is able to send the doctor's opinion to the National Insurance Institute. The doctor will also give his/her opinion on determining the degree of disability. The National Insurance Institute, will decide how to proceed without the need for an additional claims committee hearing.
- In order to transfer medical information between agencies, the patient has to sign that he agrees to the transfer.
Who is eligible?
- Anyone who meets one of the following criteria is eligible to receive a Certificate of Blindness/Visual Impairment:
- Total blindness
- Visual acuity which is less than 3/60 in the better eye, even with the assistance of eyeglasses
- Field of vision which is less than 20° in the better eye, even with the assistance of eyeglasses
How to Claim it?
- Download and print the Request for a Certificate of Blindness/Visual Impairment form.
- Fill out section A of the form ("personal details") and sign it.
- After that contact a local eye doctor to perform and exam and to fill out and sign section B of the form ("medical examination").
- Passport pictures should be attached to the appropriate section of the form.
- The form filled out by the eye doctor and the picture can be scanned and sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Alternatively the form can be sent by mail (preferably registered mail) to:
- P.O. Box 24051
- Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 9124001
- After the form is received, an additional eye examination will be performed by an eye doctor on behalf of the RASHAT (vision, hearing and technology) services in the disabilities division.
- In rare circumstances, if the applicant is immobile and has been checked by a local eye doctor, a detailed request from the treating social worker can be attached to the form, requesting that the Blind Services Department eye doctor may make a decision based on the information from the examination performed by the local doctor and not require the applicant to come for another test.
- The eye doctor will send the results of his exam to the RASHAT services which will decide whether the applicant is eligible for a certificate.
- The answer as to whether the request for a certificate was granted, and the certificate itself will be sent directly to the applicant by mail.
- Anyone who is not satisfied with the RASHAT services' decision, may submit an appeal.
- The appeal will be passed on to the services' appeals committee that includes a senior eye doctor and social worker who are experts in rehabilitation.
- An appeal fee must be paid at the post office.
- A letter detailing the reasons for the appeal and relevant medical information to support the appeal should be included.
- The appeal can be sent to the RASHAT services in one of the following ways:
- Fax: 02-508-5928
- Email: email@example.com
- The decision of the medical committee will be sent directly to the applicant.
Submitting a Renewed Request
- A request to be re-examined for a certificate can be made a year after the last exam was performed.
- In the event that there is documentation that the applicant's visual condition has deteriorated, a request to be re-examined may be submitted before a year passes.
Lost / Stolen / Destroyed Certificates
- In event of a lost/stolen/destroyed certificate, a new certificate can be obtained.
- A certificate renewal fee must be paid to the post office bank and the local RASHAT services coordinator should be contacted.
- You can contact the local RASHAT services coordinator (vision, hearing, technology):
- Jerusalem district: 02-5085391
- Tel Aviv district: 03-5125506
- Haifa district: 04-8619456
- Be'er Sheva district: 08-6264912
Certificate in English
- The RASHAT services will issue an English document to those whose request it, certifying that the applicant is recognized by the State of Israel as legally blind (see an example at the bottom of this page).
- Contact the Blind Services Department administration in order to get the document:
- Vision, Hearing and Technology Services - The Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services, 39 Yirmiyahu St., Jerusalem, 9446724.
Transfer of Information to the National Insurance Institute
- During the test by the approved eye doctor the applicant will receive an information packet which gives the option of transferring information to the National Insurance Institute in order to establish eligibility for benefits (such as the Disabled Child Benefit, General Disability Pension, and Special Services Benefit (Attendance Allowance) without the need for an additional eye test.
- An applicant interested in this will sign a form requesting that the results of his test be passed on to the National Insurance Institute. (The approved eye doctors have the forms.)
- On this form the applicant attests that he/she is interested in being checked for eligibility by the National Insurance Institute and the applicant must sign a waiver of confidentiality as a condition for the transfer of information.
- Once the form is filled out and signed, the applicant will be examined by the approved doctor regarding the issue of eligibility for National Insurance, the date of the test will be considered as the date of submission of the claim to the National Insurance.
- One who has additional medical issues (i.e. in addition to a vision impairment), must inform the ophthalmologist of them so National Insurance is aware of the other issues as well.
- The test content will be transferred from the approved doctor to the claims officer to see if the applicant is already recognized by the National Insurance Institute. Depending on this, the next step will be one of the following:
- One who has not yet filed a claim with the National Insurance Institute will have his eligibility for an allowance evaluated, without the need for an additional eye exam.
- One who has claimed an allowance in the past and whose condition of vision has deteriorated may be approved for a higher degree of eligibility.
Laws & Regulations
- Welfare Services Regulations (Examinations of Need) – Section 4
- Provision 6.3 of the Social Work Regulations: Certificate of Blindness/Visual Impairment
- National Insurance Institute Circular from 16.02.2015 - Procedure for working with the Blind Services Department in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, for the mutual recognition of eye examinations for determining eligibility.
- The original information on the blind and visually impaired, relies mainly on Guide of Rights and Services for the Blind in Israel from the Blind Services Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services' Rehabilitation Wing - Ministry of Social Affairs, and was uploaded by scholarship recipients with support from the Blind Services Department.
- Original translation performed by The Shira Pransky Project as part of a grant from The Fellowship Fund.