Disabled People More Likely Live in Poverty – ACOSS
Friday, 22nd March 2013 at 3:50 pm
Some 620,600 people with disability in Australia are living below the poverty line used to measure financial hardship in wealthy countries, according to a new report by welfare peak body, ACOSS.
The research, which forms part of the 2012 Poverty in Australia report, also reveals that at least 2,265,000 people or 12.8% of all people living below the internationally accepted poverty line (50% of median household income).
ACOSS chief executive Dr Cassandra Goldie said that the figures were “cause for great concern”.
“It shows that 27.4% of people with disability are currently living below the poverty line of 50% of median household income,” Dr Goldie said.
“This means that people with disability – or those with a ‘core activity restriction’ as defined in the Australian Bureau of Statistics income survey – are more than twice as likely to be in poverty than other people in our country.
“This compares with 12.8% of the overall population living in poverty, including 17.3% of children. It's simply not good enough.”
The figures were released following the passing of the National Disability Insurance Scheme legislation through Federal Parliament yesterday.
“Our report is a wake up call for our nation and highlights that there is a long way to go for us to provide people living with disabilities the same opportunities to participate in society as the rest of us enjoy,” Dr Goldie said.
“We know that many people with disabilities rely on social security payments, such as the Newstart Allowance and the Disability Support Pension, as their main income source.
“Disturbingly, the most recent changes to the Disability Support Pension will likely have further increased the number of people forced to live on Newstart, since this report.
Dr Goldie said the report is more evidence of the urgent need to increase the Newstart allowance payment.
“We need urgent action to address the inadequacy of income support payments for people with disability, including the single rate of Newstart Allowance, onto which more people will be reliant into the future,” Dr Goldie said.
Download the updated 2013 version of the Poverty in Australia report.