Notes on the data: Income support

Disability support pensioners, June 2014

 

Policy context:  Disability support payments provide an income to people of working age whose capacity for work is restricted by disability. There has been a steady increase in the number of people receiving the Disability Support Pension (DSP), although the proportion of working age people receiving the DSP has changed little in recent years (5.3% at June 2004 to 5.5% at June 2012) [1]. At June 2013, there were 821,000 DSP recipients in Australia [2].

Receipt of the DSP is strongly age-related, mainly because the incidence of disability rises with age [2]. In 2009, less than 2% of people aged 16 to 29 received DSP, but this rose with age to 5% of people in their 40s, 9% of people in their 50s and over 14% of people aged 60 to 64 years [2]. Disability rises further with increasing age over 65 years, but after 65, most people are entitled to an Age Pension and the DSP is currently no longer relevant [2].

References

  1. Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS). Social security trends: snapshot - April 2014. Strawberry Hills, NSW: ACOSS; 2014.
  2. Whiteford P. The rise and fall of "welfare dependency" in Australia. Melbourne: Brotherhood of St Laurence; 2013.
 

Notes:  People eligible for a Disability Support Pension (DSP) paid by the Department of Human Services (DHS), must be aged 16 years or over and have not reached age-pensionable age; be permanently blind or have a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment level of 20% or more and a continuing inability to work for at least 15 hours per week. Details of people under 60 years of age receiving the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) Service Pension (permanently incapacitated) - an income support pension - have been combined with the DHS DSP data; people above these ages receive an Age Pension or DVA Service Pension (Age).

Additional notes

The DVA data were provided at the Population Health Area level and data cells with less than 4 counts (including zeros) were removed (confidentialised). Due to the confidentialisation of data cells, there may be minimal undercounting of some of the final numbers presented, where:

  • the final data presented is based on combining two indicator sub-sets (DHS/ DVA), which may include some aggregation of non-confidentialised (DHS data) cells and confidentialised (DVA data); and
  • other geographies (e.g., LGA, GCCSA) were based on aggregation of confidentialised DVA (PHA) cells.

In addition, the data show a number of areas as having proportions in excess of 100 per cent: these are clearly not accurate. The reason for this is not clear, although it may be the result of the address of the pension recipient data being a postcode which is not allocated to the correct small geographical area by the correspondence files available; it may also reflect inaccuracies in the denominator (the population of pensionable age), as population estimates at the small area level for age groups can be unreliable, in particular where the populations are small. It also indicates that it is possible that percentages of less than 100 per cent may also be overstated. It is unlikely to be the result of people claiming both the Age Pension and a DVA Service Pension (Age), as checks are made each year to ensure that such events do not occur.


The Centrelink data were provided at the Statistical Areas Level 2 (SA2) level and data cells with less than 20 counts were removed (confidentialised). Due to the confidentialisation of data cells, there may be undercounting of some of the final numbers presented, where:

  • the geographies were aggregated based on confidentialised (SLA) cells; and/ or
  • the final data presented is based on combining two indicator sub-sets, which may include the aggregation of confidentialised and non-confidentialised cells.

The ‘Unknown’ data are calculated from the difference between the sum of the SLA data to the State/Territory totals, and include the sum of these confidentialised data.

 

Numerator:  People in receipt of a Disability Support Pension from the Department of Human Services or a Service Pension (Permanently Incapacitated) from the Department of Veterans' Affairs

 

Denominator:  People aged 16 to 64 years

 

Detail of analysis:  Per cent

 

Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on data from the Department of Social Services and the Department of Veterans' Affairs, June 2014; and ABS Estimated Resident Population, 30 June 2013.

 

© PHIDU This content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia licence.