Social support

Australia has a wide range of social support services to help people in times of need. Services are provided by government and non-government organisations, professionals and volunteers.

Many people, including those with disability, use these services intermittently throughout their life – for example, in times of unemployment, relationship breakdown, housing crisis, natural disasters or emergencies. Others may need longer-term support to participate fully in all facets of life.

In this domain, social support refers to government-funded support provided by specialist disability services and aged care services, and informal support enabling social inclusion. However, social support can include many other aspects, such as housing assistance and income support (see ‘Housing assistance’ and ‘Income support’ for more information).

NDIS participants

Around 610,500 people were active participants in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) at 30 June 2023.

Need for assistance

In 2018, about 40% (or 1.7 million) of people with disability needed assistance from formal providers.

Satisfaction with local community

In 2021, 36% of people with disability aged 15–64 were not satisfied with their local community, compared with 25% of people without disability.

Social isolation

In 2021, 1 in 5 (19%) people with disability aged 15–64 experienced social isolation, compared with 9.5% without disability.

Treated with respect

In 2022, most people with disability (94%) said they were treated with respect when accessing key mainstream services.

Treated better if did not have disability

In 2022, 1 in 6 (17%) people with disability thought they would have been treated better by service workers if they did not have disability.