Frequently asked questions
How much does the companion card cost?
Companion Cards are issued free of charge. However, the applicant must supply two colour photographs of passport quality which they must obtain at their own cost.
Is there an age restriction?
No, there is no age restriction, but the Companion Card program is all about 'fair ticketing'. This means that, to use a Companion Card, the person with disability (cardholder) must be of an age where they are charged an entry fee.
It must also be demonstrated that the person with disability has a lifelong need for a carer in the community and meets the eligibility criteria. This means that if a child's condition is subject to improvement and there is a likelihood that the child will be an independent adult then a Companion Card will not be issued.
I can attend most places by myself but find some venues are difficult because of their accessibility. Should I apply for a card to use at these venues?
No. The Companion Card was not developed to overcome or compensate for any particular venue's lack of accessibility, including the absence of ramps, lifts or accessible toilets. Responsibility for these access issues remains with venue and activity operators. You may be able to contact these operators directly to discuss your requirements.
What if my condition is episodic?
The Companion Card program will consider applications from people whose conditions are episodic (for example, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, schizophrenia, etc.) on a case by case basis.
A card will only be issued if a carer is needed in most circumstances and support needs cannot be managed by treatment, medication, aids, etc.
Please provide information in your application about the type and frequency of episodes, the residual effects and details about any proposed treatment options.
I am currently participating in a rehabilitation program with the aim to become more independent in the future, can I still apply?
Companion Cards will not be issued if your lifelong need for a carer to enable community access is unclear.
If the criteria cannot be demonstrated it may be best to wait until completion of your rehabilitation program or when it can be demonstrated that your optimum recovery is complete.
I feel better if i have a carer to support me in the community. Should I apply for a card?
Companion Cards are for people with disability who require their carer to assist with things like mobility, self-care or communication over and above the use of aids and equipment.
If you are able to do these things independently with aids and equipment but prefer to be supported by someone, then you may not be eligible for a Companion Card.
I work full time. Does this prevent me from receiving a companion card?
No. There is no income or assets test and people may apply irrespective of employment or financial status.
I am a manager of a disability service. Are services able to be issued a companion card?
No. Companion Cards are only issued in the name of the person with disability. The person with disability is then able to choose their carer in each instance.
Can someone else complete the application on my behalf?
Yes, anyone can complete the form on your behalf or assist you. However, the information entered is still about you. If someone does assist you, please include their contact details in the application.
How are applicants assessed for a companion card?
Companion Card NSW assessors are allied health professionals who are able to determine eligibility for a Companion Card.
The assessment process is a functional assessment of community access skills. The process is person-centred, individualised and case by case. The assessor gathers information from the person with disability, their carer(s) and treating health professionals to determine eligibility.
What supporting information does the assessor require with the application to make an informed decision?
You are encouraged to provide any relevant supporting information such as contact details of support services (e.g. day programs, respite services), copies of current reports from treating health professionals (e.g. treating specialist(s), psychologist, speech therapist, physiotherapist, paediatrician, occupational therapist, registered nurse or social worker) plus any further information that you feel demonstrates the eligibility criteria.
How long will my card last?
Your Companion Card is a lifelong card. This means that you only need to apply once. Your card will be renewed every 10 years to update your photograph and cope with general wear and tear.
It is important to remember that children would require their photograph to be updated more often. Please contact one of our information officers Freecall 1800 893 044 to arrange this.
What happens if my card is lost or stolen?
You should contact one of our information officers on: Freecall 1800 893 044. They will go through the process to arrange a replacement card.
Alternatively, you can download the replacement change detail form here..
I am going on holiday, can I use the card in another state?
Yes. The Companion Card is recognised at affiliates listed throughout Australia. Visit www.companioncard.gov.au for registered affiliates throughout Australia.
What can I do if my application is declined?
It is NOT necessary to complete a new application.
In the first instance you should telephone Freecall 1800 893 044 and speak to one of our assessors to discuss the decision.
You may be advised to submit new information that clearly demonstrates you meet the Companion Card eligibility criteria.
If the declined decision remains unchanged you may then submit your written request for further review by our external appeal committee:External Appeal CommitteeCompanion CardPO Box 20637World Square NSW 2002
Any new information you provide, along with the information obtained in your original application, will be forwarded to the panel for its consideration. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their review in writing.
Complaints and resolution:
If you have any feedback or wish to make a complaint relating to the
Companion Card please contact us:
By telephone: Freecall 1800 893 044
In writing:NSW Companion Card ManagerPO Box 20637World Square NSW 2002
If you have a complaint regarding the recognition of your Companion Card or issues regarding access or unfair treatment at venues/ activities you should seek to resolve the issue with the venue/activity management in the first instance. If you are still not satisfied with the response given please contact our Affiliates Manager at any of the contacts detailed above.