Living with a disability can be a real challenge but what’s even harder, is having to deal with everything on your own.
According to the Australian Network On Disability and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, a disability is defined as “total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions”, among other definitions of what constitutes a disability.
Disabilities of some description can affect Australians of any age. Some people are born with a disability, while others develop a condition later in life that defines them as having a disability. Unfortunately, almost one-fifth of the Australian population is described as living with a disability of some kind.
With this in mind, what disability support services exist in Australia to assist people who are living with a disability? What help is available?
The Disability Support Pension
One of the biggest challenges facing any Australian living with a disability is being able to have an income. Finding work can be a major hurdle for some, while others may simply be too incapacitated to even look for employment.
This is where the disability support pension comes in.
Generally, this pension is available to people who are considered to have a permanent disability, either physical, psychological, or intellectual. Even if you don’t have a permanent disability or don’t qualify for the disability support pension for some reason, there are other payments you can claim, such as the Job Seeker Payment or the Youth Disability Supplement.
No matter what, there will be some form of government payment you can claim if you’re living with a disability and can’t find work.
But what about those individuals who feel they can work and want to work? What help and support are available to them?
Disability Employment Services
If you’re actively looking for work and you have a disability, you may be eligible for the Disability Employment Services (DES) program. This is a government program that is designed to offer you assistance and support while you look for work.
There are two services under the DES scheme and they are:
- Disability Management Service
- Employment Support Service
Which scheme you access will be dependent on an assessment to determine your individual needs. It’s about finding the right support for you. Individuals undergo what’s known as a “Job Capacity Assessment” (JCA) or an “Employment Services Assessment”. The goal is to determine how fit for work you are and how many hours per week you would be comfortably capable of working.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
If you suffer from a permanent or significant disability, you may be eligible for assistance under the government’s NDIS program. The National Disability Insurance Scheme isn’t just about assisting people with a disability, but also encompasses their family and carers as well. It’s a broader scheme than DES and focuses on more issues other than just finding a job for disabled job seekers. It’s all about living an ordinary life and an improved quality of life.
Having said that, the scheme is also focused on helping individuals with a disability find employment, offering the support they need to achieve this goal.
NDIS also funds the following assistance program in this article.
School Leavers Employment Supports
Also known simply as SLES, the School Leavers Employment Supports program is targeted at Year 12 students with a disability, so they can make a smoother transition from school to work when the school year ends. As mentioned above, this scheme comes under the NDIS umbrella.
The idea is to work with Year 12 students living with a disability before the school year ends, to give them the assistance they require to make that major transition from school to employment if that’s the road they choose to take.
Once students have finished the school year, participants will receive ongoing help to find a job, by connecting them with employers and by offering things like skills training to entice businesses to employ them.
It can be daunting living with a disability, spending 12 years in school, and then having to suddenly switch the focus and mindset to finding work. The SLES program makes this a lot easier.
If you’re living with a disability, there is help available. You don’t have to do everything on your own, so take advantage of the assistance schemes that are out there.
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