On a 'snapshot' day in 2002, 65,000 people were receiving over 77,000 different services funded under the Commonwealth/State Disability Agreement, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The services, for people who need ongoing support with everyday life activities, were provided by more than 8,000 service outlets nationwide.
Disability support services 2002: national data on services provided under the CSDA shows that the most commonly used services on the snapshot day were accommodation support services (used by 34% of service consumers), followed by community access (29%), employment services (28%), community support (20%), and respite services (5%).
Of the 65,000 people using disability services:
57% were male.
2.5% were of Indigenous origin.
More than half (53%) reported having more than one disability.
61% reported intellectual disability as their primary disability, while 12% specified physical disability.
Almost 80% of consumers needed support in activities of daily living, while about 90% needed assistance to help them live independently, and 91% needed support in activities related to work, education or other community living.
Around 84% of consumers aged 16 or over said that the Disability Support Pension (DSP) was their main income source.
Report co-author Dr Phil Anderson said that recent trends showed that the median ages for consumers of accommodation support, employment and respite services continue to rise, in line with the overall ageing of the Australian community.
'We also now know that almost half of consumers receiving these services live with family (47%), about 40% with other people, and just 12% live alone.'
'More than half live in private residences (58%), with 18% in supported accommodation facilities and 17% in domestic supported accommodation.'
Dr Anderson said that the report also contained data on the geographic location of users of disability support services.
'People living outside major cities but not in remote areas are more likely to be users of disability services.
'There were 4.5 users per 1,000 Australians aged under 65 living in inner regional areas compared with 3.7 per 1,000 in our major cities and 1.9 per 1,000 in remote areas (for State/Territory funded services).'
Information in this report relies on data collected by each State and Territory and the Commonwealth.