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Recipients with disability and/or heath issues

A total of 143 respondents (or 6% of the total cohort), who reported being in receipt of the Newstart Allowance, reported disability or a health problems as the main barrier for finding, securing and maintaining employment. Forty-two per cent of these respondents were parents of children aged under 18 years of age, representing a total of 121 children. This is in the time of more stringent assessment and eligibility criteria for DSP, which has seen many recipients shifted onto the Newstart Allowance. 

With reference to this sub-group, the following charts look at both the impact of their financial situation and how they have sought to ameliorate the limited financial resources, and the impact on their access to items and services deemed essential to everyday Australian life.

What I have felt or done

Overall, the impact of restricted finances has more noticeable effect on Newstart Allowance recipients reporting a disability than the general cohort (Chart 20). For example, almost two thirds of respondents reporting going without meals (62%) compared to 47 per cent of the general cohort (Chart 11), 44 per cent had to sell or pawn possessions for additional financial resources compared to 37 per cent of the general cohort (Chart 11), and 31 per cent had to delay rent or mortgage payments compared to 28 per cent of the general cohort (Chart 11).

The level of deprivation in this sub-group is also higher than that experienced by either the general cohort or those respondents in receipt of the DSP. Whilst there are areas of comparability between the different cohorts (Chart 21a,) there are also areas of contrast. For example, Newstart Allowance recipients reporting a disability or health issue, demonstrated significantly worse living standards, are more likely to be unable to afford medical and dental treatment and are more socially isolated that either of the other two groups, with over half being unable to afford regular social contact with friends (53%).

Chart 20 Newstart recipient financial situation

Chart 21a The Essentials of Life

What children are doing without

The impact of this cohort’s financial circumstances is also keenly felt by the children in these family units, and most significantly in terms of their access to recreational activities either in school or out of school, with 54 per cent and 63 per cent of parents being unable to afford access to these services for their children respectively (Chart 21b). In addition, children of this cohort are potentially disadvantaged academically by not being able to afford up to date school books and resources.

chart 21b levels of deprivation


In terms of levels of multiple deprivations, the overall trends below (Chart 22a) look similar to those in previous sections comparing Newstart and DSP recipients, with the majority of respondents doing without 5 to 10 essential items simultaneously. This Newstart Allowance sub-group, however, is reporting statistically higher levels of deprivations than those who receive DSP.(1)

Chart 22a Comparison of multiple deprivation

Multiple deprivation - Children

Likewise, the level of multiple deprivations experienced by the children of these individuals (Chart 22b) are also statistically significant, and represent greater deprivations than the children of parents on DSP.(2)

Chart 22b Multiple deprivation children

1. This was based on an independent samples t-test, which found the mean deprivation of this Newstart cohort (M=8.6, SD = 5.2) was significantly higher (p<.002) compared to DSP recipients (M=7.2, SD=4.5).  
2. This, again was based on an independent samples t-test, which found that the mean deprivation for children of this Newstart cohort (M=2.5, SD=1.8) was significantly higher than the children of DSP recipients (M=0.6, SD=1.4) (p<.0001).