Over 321,000 people use disability support services

In 2013–14, an estimated 321,531 people used disability support services under the National Disability Agreement—a 9% increase since 2009–10, and a 3% increase since 2012–13, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Disability support services: services provided under the National Disability Agreement 2013–14, shows that about three-quarters of service users receiving services under the National Disability Agreement (NDA) in 2013–14 were younger than 50, with an average age of 34.

‘More males than females receive services (59% compared to 41%), and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders comprised 6% of recipients compared with their 3% representation in the general population,’ said AIHW spokesperson Justine Boland.

More than one-half (55%) of service users had an intellectual or learning disability (44% as their primary disability).

‘The most commonly-used services were community support services (44%) which help people with disability to live in non-institutional settings,’ said Ms Boland.

Community support services include therapy support, early childhood intervention, behavioural or specialist interventions, and counselling.

Employment services were used by 41% of service users, followed by community access services (18%), accommodation support services (14%) and respite services (12%).

Around 84% of service type outlets for people with disability were non-government organisations, with most (71%) being tax exempt (for example as charitable or religious organisations).

Many services provided by the NDA will be gradually replaced by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the next few years. During 2013–14, an estimated 4,200 NDA service users transitioned to the NDIS.

During the transition to the NDIS, NDA services data will continue to form an essential component of the national picture on the use of disability services in Australia. They also provide important contextual information for the implementation and operation of the NDIS.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare.


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