Research and Reports | 5 February 2015

‘We want to work’ says ‘Living on the Disability Support Pension’ report

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A new report has been released which illustrates just how hard it can be for people with disability to break into the workforce and get meaningful jobs. It shows that many people with disability are forced to do voluntary or unpaid work instead.

The report is the result of interviews with ten people on the Disability Support Pension (DSP) shining a light on some of the issues they face trying to get a job and debunking the myth that people on the DSP don’t want to work.

Maree O’Halloran from the National Welfare Rights Network who were involved in the report said “people with disabilities who took part in our research didn’t need hectoring about the benefits of work: all interviewees had previous employment in the paid workforce, and a number worked while on the DSP when their illness allowed.

“When they couldn’t find paid work, they undertook voluntary work, work experience or worked at reduced wages. Many were also active as volunteers and as unpaid carers. Most had expectations of future employment and had plans for employment or further education.”

Ms O’Halloran said what is needed “is better employment services, more job opportunities via employer incentives, and adequate income support which meets the higher costs of living with disability and provides adequate financial security to transition back to work.”

“The labour force participation rate for people with disability in Australia is only 53%, significantly lower when compared to people without a disability, which stood at 83%. People with disability who do participate in the labour force are more likely to be unemployed. In comparison with other OECD countries, Australia ranks 21st out of 29 in employment participation rates for people with a disability.”

Further reading

Media release: People with disabilities keen to work, but new report asks ‘where are the jobs’?

Research Report:Living on the Disability Support Pension’, January 2015