Updated: Jul 20, 2022
The reason for me writing this post today about Companion cards is to highlight some of the key facts to those who are either not aware of the companion card scheme or willing to apply for one, due to the disability they have. it's worth exploring this beneficial scheme and for readers to get an all-in-one-stop information page around what this card is, who can have one, and what are the rules around the application for its approval by the department.
The department’s website has information published in a much simpler form, however; I thought to write the article below to give some more clarity/idea for our readers.
Why is the Disability Companion Card important?
When it comes to expenditures during outings, we have spoken to many of our clients with a disability, who would like their carer to go with them to these outings that would require an entry ticket. Now here is the confusion - who pays the ticket for the carer. Clearly, NDIS is not paying any entry ticket or bill, it will only pay for the support from staff.
Is it the provider (very unlikely), the carer themselves should arrange their ticket (highly unlikely), and/or it should be paid by the person with a disability (based on agreement terms)?
Hence, when it comes to payments for the carer, the discussion around companion cards becomes important.
What is the Disability Companion Card and who can get it - let's explore
A companion card is issued by the NSW government for those people who have a permanent lifelong disability and need intense care or support during participation in activities or at venues that charge or expect the person to pay for tickets at the entry.
Certainly, the person with a disability will pay for the tickets using their funds but the idea of a companion card is to have the other person (Carer/Companion) enter the venue at no cost, removing the financial barrier for the person with a disability.
It is not a discount, benefit, or concession and hence is not subject to income or means-testing but it will allow the companion/carer to enter the venue (Affiliated Business) with no cost/charge; accompanying the person with a disability, reducing the financial burden of the person with a disability, to not have to pay for the second ticket for the carer.