Frequently Asked Questions
Please note, contact with the Companion Card Program is available via phone, email or post – NOT via the Access Canberra Service Centers.
ACT Companion Card Program
GPO Box 158
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Phone: (02) 6205 4333
National Relay Service phone 133 677 then ask for 133 427
Who can help me complete an application form?
You may seek assistance from any person to complete your application form.
For children or adults who are unable to sign the applicant declaration and authorisation, the applicant's formal or informal decision maker may sign on the applicant's behalf. This may be a legal guardian, enduring power of attorney or unpaid carer.
A specified health professional must also sign your form as outlined in the application form.
I can attend most places by myself but some venues are difficult because of their accessibility. Should I apply for a card to use at a specific venue only?
No, the Companion Card was not developed to compensate for the lack of accessibility of a specific venue. The Companion Card is issued to people who require attendant care support to participate at venues and activities.
In a situation such as the lack of accessibility of a specific venue, it is up to the individual and the venue or activity operator to negotiate an alternative method to verify the need for attendant care support.
It is important to note that under existing anti-discrimination legislation, the overall responsibility for ensuring equal access to goods, services and facilities remains with venue and activity owners and operators.
What if my condition is episodic?
The ACT Companion Card Program will consider applications from individuals who have episodic conditions (for example, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or schizophrenia). Please provide information in your application about the frequency and impact of episodes and about why attendant care support is needed.
The Companion Card will not be issued for infrequent or unexpected events such as allergic reactions, falls or medical emergencies.
If someone's need for attendant care is not life-long, is there a temporary card?
The Companion Card can only be issued to people with a permanent disability who require life-long attendant care support.
If someone has a serious injury that shows signs of improvement, are they eligible?
If the applicant becomes independent in the future as a result of treatment, management, training, recovery or developmental improvements they are ineligible for a Companion Card.
A Companion Card will not be issued for a temporary impairment where it is likely that you will regain your independence as a result of your rehabilitation or recovery program. It is best to wait until you have completed your rehabilitation or recovery program to determine if you have an ongoing need for attendant care support.
In situations where companion support is required but you do not qualify for a Companion Card, you should attempt to negotiate with the operator of the activity or venue.
Can children apply?
Children may apply for an ACT Companion Card however they must demonstrate a life-long need for attendant care support. In the case of children, it is often difficult to determine their potential. If a child's condition will improve, and he or she is likely to become independent, the child will not be eligible for a Companion Card.
Does working full-time prevent me receiving a Companion Card?
No, there is no income or asset test for a Companion Card.
I live outside ACT. Can I apply for an ACT Companion Card?
No, applications for a Companion Card are made to the state or territory of your principal residence. Participating business affiliates in the ACT will recognise cardholders from other states and territories.
Information on interstate programs and participating businesses operating throughout Australia is available on the National Companion Card Website
I regularly provide attendant care. Can I apply for a Companion Card?
No, Companion Cards are only issued to a person with a disability who has met the eligibility criteria, and the cardholder must be present when purchasing a companion ticket. The cardholder may choose his or her companion. Cards are not issued to groups, facilities or organisations.
Can I use my Companion Card for proof of age?
No, the Companion Card is not a proof of age card; it only identifies the cardholder as a person who, due to their disability, always requires attendant care support from a companion to participate at venues and activities.
The application process does not require a copy of your birth certificate or other proof of age documentation and your date of birth is not displayed on the card.
What if I don't qualify for a card?
The Companion Card is not for every person with a disability. There may be circumstances where an individual may use the support of a companion but will not qualify to receive a Companion Card. Examples include:
- when a person is experiencing temporary impairment
- where the need for attendant care support is not life-long
- when a person is affected by the inaccessibility of a particular venue
- when a person chooses to have a companion to provide social company or reassurance
- when a person chooses to have a companion rather than use available aids, equipment or alternative strategies to access an venue/activity
In situations such as these, it is up to the individual and the venue/activity operator to negotiate an alternative method to verify the need for attendant care support.