I love going out with friends to movies, nightclubs and concerts. Ever since the Companion Card was introduced I have used it with family and friends. It is issued to people with a significant, permanent disability. Applicants need to demonstrate they are unable to access most community activities and venues without attendant care support. Many organisations now accept the card. The card enables companions to receive a free ticket.
I think the Companion Card allows people with a disability to have a more regular and exciting social life. It also helps reduce the cost of travel. The Companion Card has been great for me.
The Companion Card has saved my friends and I lots of money. We had a system where we would equally split the price of tickets. This way we both benefited. It allowed me to see lots of concerts and attend events with friends.
Of course, tickets can still be expensive, even at half price. A favourite DJ of mine was selling tickets for $150 each. I took a friend and the cost was more manageable at $75 each. It was a large saving because of the Companion Card.
Now I am facing a dilemma. In an effort to be more independent I have decided not to renew my Companion Card. As I have got older I have taught myself new tricks to make myself as independent as possible. For example, I have figured out how to open doors with my electric wheelchair foot plate. I can also safely hold drinks between my legs. I have even found a way to pick things up with my glasses frame! (Please don't try these tricks at home!)
Saving money is great. After all, I am not getting rich from my disability support pension! But I have made a commitment to be more independent. This commitment means I am going to have to get used to paying full price for concerts and travel. It is going to be a challenge.
Sometimes I worry that my friends might no longer be as likely to go out with me. I am no longer the cost-effective option!
Others in need
But I have started to feel guilty for using my disability as a way to save money. I feel I don't really need a companion. I feel like there are other people with a disability who are less independent than I am. I worry that I am depriving them of the benefits I once received from my Companion Card. That is the reason why I no longer use the card.
Do you use the Companion Card? Do you think the card should be available to more people? Or is it too easy to get a card? Let us know in the comments section below.