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Applying for a card

Who can apply?

The Companion Card is for people with a significant permanent disability, who always need a companion to provide attendant care type support in order to participate at most available community venues and activities.

Attendant care type support includes significant assistance with mobility, communication, self-care, or learning, planning and thinking, where the use of aids, equipment or alternative strategies do not enable the person to carry out these tasks. It does not include providing only reassurance, social company or encouragement.

The requirement for attendant care to access most events does not include requiring support to deal with infrequent, unexpected or unpredictable events. The Companion Card was not developed to overcome or compensate for any particular venue's lack of accessibility; including the absence of ramps, lifts, accessible toilets, appropriate signage or captioning, etc. Responsibility for these access issues remains with venue and activity operators.

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. Companion Cards cannot be issued if the applicant may become independent in the future as a result of treatment/management, training, recovery or developmental improvements. Companion Cards can only be issued when an ongoing need for a companion can be demonstrated.

There are no income or assets tests applied to applications for a Companion Card, and people may apply irrespective of their employment status or nationality.

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Application Criteria

To be eligible for a Victorian Companion Card, the person must:

  • Be a permanent resident of Australia, residing in Victoria
  • Demonstrate that they have a significant, permanent disability
  • Demonstrate that, due to the impact of the disability, they would be unable to participate at most community activities without attendant care support
  • Demonstrate that the need for this level of attendant care will be life-long.

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.

For more information on eligibility in other States and Territories, please refer to the National Companion Card Website.

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The role of Health Professionals and Service Providers

The Companion Card program assesses the clinical indicators and functional limitations recorded on the form. In order for Companion Card staff to progress an application, supporting information from the health professional or service provider is required regarding the applicant’s level of dysfunction in addition to the level and type of assistance required in the following areas (where relevant): cognition, mobility, communication and activities of daily living.

Attendant care includes significant assistance with mobility, communication, self-care or cognition 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.

Health professionals and service providers are encouraged not to advise clients on their entitlement to a card. Importantly, their role is to provide comprehensive and detailed information in the application regarding their client’s/patient’s incapacity and the level of dysfunction. This will enable the Companion Card staff to make an informed decision about the support needs of the applicant. If this information is not provided with the initial application, additional information will be requested.

Some examples of conditions that may qualify: Quadriplegia, Alzheimer's, Legally Blind, Rett Syndrome, Downs Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy and Motor Neurone Disease.

Some examples of conditions that may not: Paraplegia, ABI, Mild ID, Psychiatric conditions, Chronic fatigue Syndrome, Diabetes, Autism Mild and Epilepsy.

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What if I do not qualify to receive a Companion Card?

The Companion Card will only be issued to people who meet all of the criteria for the program. There may be circumstances whereby a person may require a companion but does not qualify to receive a Companion Card. Examples include:

  • A person whose expected development, management or recovery may mean that they will not require attendant care at most venues for the rest of their life.
  • A person experiencing a temporary impairment.
  • A person who is affected by the specific inaccessibility of a particular venue.
  • A person who chooses to have a companion to provide social company or reassurance.
  • A person whose requirement for attendant care is infrequent.

In situations such as these, it is up to the individual and the venue/ activity operators to negotiate companion access.

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Unsuccessful applications

Applicants who have not been successful may request a review of the decision.

A request for a review must be made in writing and may include any new information that clearly demonstrates you meet the Companion Card criteria.

Where additional information is provided, the information must be signed and verified by a service provider or health professional. The professional's contact details must also be provided.

Please note that original documents cannot be returned to you. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the decision review in writing.

Please submit your request for a review in writing to :

Victorian Companion Card Review
Victorian Companion Card Program
GPO Box 4987
MELBOURNE VIC 3001

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