Centrelink Social Work Services
Social Workers are available to help customers in Centrelink Customer Service Centres and Call Centres.

How can Social Workers help?
• Social workers:
• Provide counseling and support to Centrelink customers with difficult personal or family issues.
• Provide information about, or refer customers to, community support services help with claims for payments from Centrelink.
• Who do Social Workers help?
• young people without family support
• people who have experienced or who are at risk of domestic or family violence
• people who have recently separated from a partner or experienced a bereavement
• people who are full-time carers of a child or an adult with a disability or severe medical condition
• people having difficulty with independent living
• people in financial crisis who may lose accommodation or essential services.
• Social Workers also liaise with community organisations and groups to provide information about Centrelink services and to obtain feedback on the delivery and impact of Centrelink services.

How do I contact a Social Worker?
Phone Centrelink on 13 1794 to speak directly to a Social Worker or make an appointment to see a Social Worker at your local Customer Service Centre.

Victorian Companion Card

• Companion Card promotes the right of people with a disability, who require a companion, to fair ticketing at Victorian events and venues.
• 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.
Contact: 1800 650 611 (companion card information line)

Multi-purpose taxi program
The Victorian Taxi Directorate provides a 50% discount on taxi fares, up to a maximum of $60 per trip to permanently and severely disabled people. Members must be permanent residents of Victoria who have a severe and permanent disability that severely limits their mobility and prevents them from accessing public transport. The disability must be a severe physical and/or an intellectual or psychological disability.

• Eligibility
• You must hold at least one of the following concession cards:
• Pensioner Concession Card
• Health Care Card
• DVA Gold Card
• DVA White Card
• Victorian Seniors Card
• Commonwealth Senior Health Card

How to apply
Contact the Victorian Taxi Directorate on (03) 9320 4360 or 1800 638 802 for an application form or visit www.transport.vic.gov.au.

Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS)
• The CAPS is an Australian Government Scheme that provides a payment to assist eligible people who have permanent and severe incontinence to meet some of the costs of their incontinence products. The payment is made by Medicare Australia directly into a clients nominated bank account.
• To be eligible for the CAPS an applicant must be five years of age or older and meet one of the following criteria:
• They have permanent and severe loss of bladder and/or bowel function (incontinence) due directly to an eligible neurological condition (for example, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, paraplegia or multiple scleroses).
OR
• They have permanent and severe loss of bladder and/or bowel function (incontinence) caused by an eligible “other” condition, for example bladder prolapse, and has a Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card, whether as a primary cardholder or a dependent of a cardholder.
OR
• .They have permanent and severe loss of bladder and/or bowel function (incontinence) caused by an eligible “other” condition and has a Department of Veterans Affairs Pensioner Concession Card or entitlement, whether as a primary cardholder or a dependent of a cardholder
• To assist Health Professionals in assessing clients for the CAPS, a list of eligible neurological conditions or eligible other conditions are outlined
• To apply for the CAPS an applicant needs to complete a CAPS application form which includes a health report to be completed by a Health Professional and submit to Medicare Australia for processing.
• The CAPS payment for 2010-11 is up to $497.79, indexed annually. The payment is based on a pro-rata rate from the date Medicare Australia receive an application for the CAPS.
• If you have any questions about completing your CAPS application form, please contact Medicare Australia on 132 011 and select the general enquiries option.

SWEP (Aids and equipment)
• The State-wide equipment program (SWEP) provides people who have a permanent or long-term disability with subsidised aids, equipment, oxygen and continence and vehicle and home modifications.
• SWEP aims to enhance the independence and safety of people with a disability in their own home, facilitate their participation in the community and support families and carers.
• SWEP is a suite of programs funded by the Department of Human Services and administered by Ballarat Health Services.

• SWEP incorporates the following programs:
• Aids and Equipment Program (A&EP)
• Supported Accommodation Equipment Assistance Scheme (SAEAS)
• Domiciliary Oxygen Program (DOP)
• Continence Aids (CA)
• Vehicle Modification Scheme (VWSS)

Eligibilty:
You may be eligible if:
• you have a permanent or long term disability/or are frail aged; and are living independently in the community
• you require aids & equipment or home or vehicle modifications from the aids availability list on a permanent or long-term basis.
• and
• you are a permanent Victorian resident
• or you are on a Permanent Protection Visa – resolution of status (RoS) (subclass 851)
• or you are an asylum seeker]

Office of the Public Advocate (OPA)

• OPA is an independent statutory body established by the Victorian State Government.
• OPA works to protect and promote the interests, rights and dignity of people with a disability.
• http://www.publicadvocate.vic.gov.au/
• or by phone: 1300 309 337
• Administration is the appointment of a person (an ‘administrator’) to make financial and legal decisions for an adult with a disability (the ‘represented person’) when they are unable to do so.
• Guardianship is the appointment of a person (a ‘guardian’) to make decisions for an adult with a disability (the ‘represented person’) when they are unable to do so.

State Trustees
Personal Financial Administration
State Trustees protects and supports vulnerable members of the community. State Trustees currently look after the financial and legal affairs of almost 9000 Victorians with a disability, illness or injury who need help managing their own affairs.
If the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) appoints State Trustees as your Administrator, then State Trustees have a duty to manage your finances fairly and impartially.

How does VCAT work?
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is an independent government body. If they are concerned about you taking care of your finances, or being exploited, they can appoint State Trustees to make decisions on your behalf that are in your best interests.

State Trustees as your Administrator
You will have a dedicated consultant who knows you and your situation. Their aim is to manage your income and assets for you, in your best interests.

• Here’s how State Trustees can help you as your Administrator:
• Make sure all your income is collected
• Identify any other sources of income for you, including Trusts or other entitlements
• Develop a budget to give you as much financial independence as possible
• Make regular funds available for your personal expenses
• Organise settling of your debts
• Arrange the recovery of money owing to you
• Pay your ongoing bills such as rent, electricity and phone
• Insure your property and belongings
• Settle outstanding legal issues
• Keep accurate and clear records
• Prudently manage your assets and investments.
What about fees?
State Trustees fees are set in accordance with Government legislation.

For Further information please visit the state trustees website at
www.statetrustees.com.au
or by phone on 1300 138 672 or (03) 9667 6466

Carers Victoria
Carers Victoria offer information, counselling, workshops and referrals to supports and services to give you the support you need to continue your caring role.
Please visit the Carers Victoria website at:
www.carersvic.org.au
or contact them on 1800 242 632