Working a job with a visual impairment can be difficult without the proper supports. If you need assistance with reading at work, you may be able to apply for a Personal Reader Grant. This will allow you to employ someone part-time to help you with reading when you’re on the job. The grant covers a personal reader for a maximum of 640 hours of work a year, paid at the national minimum wage.
Personal reader grants
Who can apply?
Personal Reader Grants are not available to people who work in the public sector (for national or local government, State agencies, the HSE, etc.) This is because public sector employers are already required to meet your needs as a member of staff with a disability, so they should be able to request a personal reader.
Anyone else who is finding it difficult to read at work due to a visual impairment or blindness can apply for a Personal Reader Grant. You don’t have to be registered as blind, and it doesn’t matter how much you’re earning in work. You can apply directly as an employee or your boss can apply on your behalf.
How to apply
The application forms for a Personal Reader Grant are Part 1 (pdf) and Part 2 (pdf) of the Reasonable Accommodation Fund application form. You can download them online or pick one up at your local employment services office or Intreo centre. The staff will be able to help out if you need assistance filling in the forms.
Who can be a personal reader?
A person who wants to become a personal reader needs to be able to be able to read to a good standard and be able to read aloud in a clearly understandable way – that’s it. There are no minimum educational requirements or formal qualifications needed to be a personal reader.
Hiring a personal reader
Before you hire a personal reader, make sure to work out exactly the type and amount of reading you’ll need their help with. Work out the hours you’ll want them to work per week so you can agree between yourselves before they begin. Normally, a person’s average working week can’t be longer than 48 hours total so bear that in mind.
You can advertise for a personal reader as you would any other job. Putting an ad in a newspaper, in a shop window or on a community notice board are all possible ways of finding someone.
Working as personal reader
If you’re starting work as a personal reader, make sure you agree on the number of hours you’ll be working in advance. Remember that the Personal Reader Grant covers a maximum of 640 hours’ work per year, and that the average amount of time you work per week should not normally be higher than 48 hours.
If possible, you should try to look over the material you’re going to be reading in advance. That way you can get to know what it is you’ll be reading and look up any unfamiliar pronunciations ahead of time.
Need more information?
We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.