Disabled Australians spend extra on basic living costs every year

Australians living with disability spend thousands more on basic living costs every year, according to a data from the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM).

It said those with disabilities spend an extra 107 Australian dollars (73.3 U.S. dollars) every week, on basic costs such as transport and healthcare.

Those with a mild disability would need an extra 87 AUD (59.6 U.S. dollar) per week from the disability support pension to have the same standard of living as other Australians, while those with profound or severe disabilities would need an extra 173 AUD (118.5 U.S. dollar) per week.

People with disabilities who are considered capable of working receive Newstart, the welfare allowance for the unemployed, rather than the disability support pension which needs an extra 343 AUD (235 U.S. dollar) per week.

“The gaps in standards of living are much higher for households where a family member with disability is on Newstart,” Laurie Brown, a NATSEM researcher, told Nine Entertainment newspapers on Tuesday.

Approximately one in 10 people on the disability support pension skip meals to save money, according to the NATSEM data – a rate four times higher than that for those not on the pension.

Those with disabilities were also twice as likely to ask friends and relatives for money and those on Newstart were four times more likely.