According to a new report released by ACOSS to mark anti-poverty week 2014, people with a disability face a significantly higher risk of poverty than the average population. In 2009 this risk was 27.4% compared with 12.8% for the total population, and according to the report this does not take account of the additional costs relating to disability (for housing, transport and medical services) borne by many people with a disability.
This financial disadvantage can be compounded by the need for around-the-clock care, with Carers Australia noting that there are approximately 2.7 million carers across Australia who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue, or who are frail aged. It is a labour of love, but can also be a cause of great stress, as highlighted by a five year survey recently published by Anglicare Sydney.
“Carers of all ages are prone to stress and anxiety and are likely to need support in their caring role”, said Ara Cresswell, CEO of Carers Australia. “The National Disability Insurance Scheme was designed in part to address such concerns. It is intended to provide supports for people with a disability over a lifetime and to maximise their chances for independence. Ensuring that people with a disability will not be left in the wilderness after their family carers are unable to provide care is one of many good reasons why the NDIS must be supported to reach its original goals.”
The NDIS was introduced across Australia in July 2013, and has since been rolled out across all areas of disability.