Australians With Disabilities Are Earning How Much Less Disposable Income Each Year?

Australians with disabilities earn around $24,000 less disposable income than those without disabilities, new research reveals.

For Australians with severe disability, the gap is far worse, with their disposable income about half that of those with no disability.

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The lower income correlated with higher rates of unemployment and difficulty in accessing housing, the Actuaries Institute research, published today, said.

According to the paper, “Not A Level Playing Field – People with Disability”, Australians aged between 15 and 64 with moderate to severe disability experience higher rates of income and wealth inequality, and impacts to health, education, access to housing and social factors.

The paper’s authors, Dr Hugh Miller and Dr Laura Dixie said on average, people with disability needed an estimated 50 per cent additional income to achieve a similar standard of living without disability.

“These gaps highlight the need to make changes to be more inclusive, and that goes beyond government policy,” Dr Dixie said.

“We need community attitudes to evolve to reduce discrimination and stigma, and companies to build disability awareness to create more inclusive workplaces that will help reduce barriers to employment.

“Given Australia’s current period of low unemployment rates, and with many businesses struggling to find workers, now is the ideal time for companies, and society more broadly, to step up and do their part.”

The paper has called the federal government to work with stakeholders to make a beneficial change for people with disabilities and their families.

It also said there needs to be improved data collection and the use of linked data “to better understand disability within Australia to inform potential solutions”.

Paper’s key findings:

Compared to people without disability, people with disability are:

  • Three times more likely to be unemployed or underemployed,
  • Two times more likely to be living in poverty,
  • Six times more likely to be a recent victim of violent crime and incarcerated,
  • Two times more likely to be suffering psychological distress and,
  • Three times more likely to die by suicide.

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