Who is eligible for an ACT Companion Card?
To be eligible for a Companion Card, an applicant must demonstrate that they meet all four of the eligibility criteria prior to a Companion Card being issued. The presence of any disability alone does not entitle an individual to a Companion Card.
- Criteria 1 - Applicants must be a permanent resident of Australia, residing in the ACT;
- Criteria 2 - Applicants must demonstrate that they have a significant, permanent disability;
- Criteria 3 - Applicants must demonstrate that, due to the impact of the disability, they would be unable to participate at most community venues or activities without attendant care support; and
- Criteria 4 - Applicants must demonstrate that the need for this level of attendant care will be life-long.
A Companion Card is issued in the name of the person who has the disability. Service providers, organisations or potential companions are not eligible to apply for a Companion Card. The card can only be issued to a child applicant where the companion is required due to the disability (not due to age alone).
There is no income, asset test or fee associated with the application process.
What is Attendant care support?
Attendant care includes significant assistance with mobility, communication, self-care or planning and problem solving, where the use of aids, equipment or alternative strategies does not enable the person to carry out tasks independently.
Attendant care does not include providing reassurance or encouragement nor can it be for infrequent or unexpected events or medical emergencies. The Companion Card cannot be issued to people who only require attendant care for social support, reassurance, encouragement or just-in-case-type of scenarios.
The Companion Card is not issued to every person who has a disability. The card is issued to people who can demonstrate that they would not be able to participate at most venues and activities without a companion, and that this need is life-long. A Companion Card cannot be issued if the applicant may become independent in the future as a result of treatment or management, training, recovery or developmental improvements. A Companion Card can only be issued when an ongoing need for a companion can be demonstrated.
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 be eligible for a Companion Card. Examples include:
- when a person is experiencing temporary impairment
- where the need for attendant care support is not lifelong
- 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 a venue or activity
In situations such as these, it is up to the individual and the venue or activity operators to negotiate an alternative method to verify the need for attendant care support.
Click here to view the ACT Companion Card Frequently Asked Questions.