New data from Children and Young People with Disability Australia (Cyda) has revealed that disabled young people are living on poverty-level benefits.
In the report, Cyda stated that nearly half of young people with a disability, aged 15-24 years, are being forced to live on inadequate income support payments as their main source of income, an increase of over 370% since 2009.
ACT Minister for Disability, Emma Davidson, said people with disability are more likely to experience unemployment.
“Across the country there has been a rise in the number of young people with a disability living on below poverty-level welfare benefits,” Ms Davidson said.
“People with disability working in the community sector work in one of the sectors hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to Cyda CEO Mary Sayers, “while many young people with disability rely on income support, more have been diverted from receiving the higher payments by being ineligible for the Disability Support Pension”.
While JobSeeker payments are set to rise by just over $3 a day in the largest permanent increase in the unemployment benefit since the mid-1980s, the ACT Government and many welfare groups are calling to further increase JobSeeker to a more liveable rate above the poverty line.
Ms Davidson said applying for Disability Support Pension can be a lengthy process, often leaving welfare recipients on payments not suited to their needs.
“Youth Allowance is paid at a lower rate than the Disability Support Pension … This means there are young people with serious chronic health conditions and disability living on Youth Allowance and below the poverty line.”
According to the Minister, this is unacceptable.
“We cannot create an inclusive community if at-risk people have to choose between housing, food or medication.
“The temporary introduction of the coronavirus supplement proved how easily the Morrison Government can take action to lift large numbers of individuals and families out of poverty.
“The ACT Government will continue to advocate for permanent increases to JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and the Disability Support Pension so that people experiencing hardship are able to access necessities of life and to live lives of dignity, opportunity and contribution.”
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