There is more than half a million active participants of Australia’s national disability support program plus thousands of children receiving early intervention support, according to a new release from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

People with disability in Australia 2022 shows there were around 519,000 active National Disability Insurance Scheme participants with approved plans at 31 March 2022. Of these 2,700 were under the age of 65 and living in residential aged care. There were an additional 11,200 children supported by the early childhood approach. 

The report brings together information from a range of national data sources to contribute to a greater understanding of disability in Australia. It covers a broad range of areas including people, health, housing, education, social support, justice, income, and employment.

Source: People with disability in Australia 2022

The report highlights the challenges that some people with disability face in participating in everyday life including employment and that they are more likely to experience poor health, discrimination, and violence than those without disability. For example:

  • 22 per cent of people with disability experience discrimination compared with 15 per cent of those without
  • 32 per cent of adults with disability experience high or very high psychological distress compared to 8 per cent without disability
  • 47 per cent of adults with disability have experienced violence after the age of 15 compared to 36 per cent of those without disability.

Younger people in residential aged care

Around 3,440 younger people – aged under 65 – were in permanent residential aged care at 31 December 2021, compared with 4,860 at 30 June 2020.

Almost a quarter of younger people in permanent residential aged care had a high level of need for help with behaviour (73 per cent) while almost nine in 10 had limitations in self-care upon entry to permanent residential aged care (88 per cent) at 30 June 2020.

Source: People with disability in Australia 2022

Specialist disability support services

An estimated four in 10 or 1.7 million people with disability living in households need assistance from formal providers and most of these receive at least some of this support (86 per cent), the report shows.

Formal assistance is most often delivered by private commercial organisations (61 per cent) or government providers (46 per cent) – noting a person can receive support from more than one provider.

Most people with disability receiving formal assistance were satisfied with the quality and range of services, however not everyone with disability receives all the help they need from formal services, the report shows.

The most common areas of unmet need are:

  • cognitive or emotional tasks
  • communication
  • property maintenance
  • household chores
  • mobility.

The common reasons given for not receiving any or more help from an organised service with at least one activity include:

  • service costs too much
  • did not know of service
  • not eligible for service
  • service does not provide sufficient hours
  • unable to arrange service
  • no service available.

People living in outer regional and remote areas are more likely not to receive help due to no service being available (24 per cent) than those living in major cities (9 per cent).

People living in inner regional areas are more likely not to receive help due to not being eligible for service (23 per cent) than those living in major cities (14 per cent) and outer regional and remote areas (15 per cent).

People living in major cities are more likely not to receive help due to service costing too much (40 per cent) than those living in outer regional and remote areas(27 per cent).

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