People with a disability are twice as likely to live in poverty, according to research released by the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS).
ACOSS found that 620,000 people with a disability in Australia live below the poverty line, with a lack of real employment opportunities and low social security payments being underlying causes. “There is still much to be done to increase the wellbeing of people with a disability”, said Grant Millard, CEO ANGLICARE Sydney.
“Recent changes to eligibility for the Disability Support Pension mean that it is much tougher for people with a disability to receive this benefit, forcing many onto the Newstart Allowance.
“At $35 a day for singles, Newstart just isn’t enough to live on, especially if you have a disability or illness”, said Mr Millard.
ANGLICARE Sydney has joined calls for Newstart to be raised to ensure low income households are not trapped in poverty and have an adequate standard of living.
“Our national research on Food Insecurity, When There’s Not Enough to Eat found that four out of ten households that struggle to have enough food receive the Disability Support Pension.
“This means that moving more people with a disability onto a lower level of support is a terrible situation! It blocks the path of opportunity, and puts them into situations where they can’t afford food for their basic needs” said Mr Millard.
ANGLICARE Sydney is one of the largest providers of disability services in Western Sydney and strongly supports the passage through Federal Parliament of legislation to establish a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which occurred on 21 March.
“While the NDIS is essential to improving the wellbeing of people with a disability, we need to ensure they are lifted out of poverty as well”, said Mr Millard.