Australia- Shift from medical model of disability to social and rights-based models


Asia Insurance Review There is currently an existing movement from a medical model of disability to social and rights-based models, according to a report released yesterday by the Actuaries Institute. Supporting the movement, actuaries Dr Hugh Miller and Dr Laura Dixie – both at the consulting firm Taylor Fry – say in the paper, “While a medical model defines people based on their impairment, the social model focuses on how people with disability interact with broader society and the barriers that inhibit participation in areas such as community, employment, and education. “A rights-based model considers the rights of people with disability and allows them to design services to meet their needs. The paper also calls for improved data collection and the use of linked data to better understand disability within Australia to inform potential solutions.” The actuaries made these comments in a paper, titled “Not A Level Playing Field – People with Disability”, which highlights how Australians aged between 15 and 64 with moderate to severe disability experience higher rates of income and wealth inequality, and the impacts on their health, education, access to housing and social factors such as chances of being a victim of crime. Dr Miller and Dr Dixie found that the average income for people with disability is about A$24,000 ($15,220) less disposable income than for people without disability. The gap is even wider for people with severe disability – their disposable income is about half that of people with no disability. This inequality of income is compounded by the fact that on average people with disability need an estimated 50% additional income to achieve the same standard of living as people without disability. While some differences relate to fewer hours worked, people with disability face substantial barriers to employment and higher rates of both unemployment and underemployment. As a result, 41% fall into the bottom 20% of income earners – which is double the rate of the population. Only 9% are in the top bracket of income earners – which is half the rate of the population. The total cost of poorer employment outcomes for people with disability is estimated to be A$21.5bn. Dr Miller and Dr Dixie found these economic equality gaps correspond with a range of poorer social outcomes. Most notably, compared to people without disability, people with disability are: 3x more likely to be unemployed or underemployed 2x more likely to be living in poverty 6x more likely to be a recent victim of violent crime and incarcerated 2x more likely to be suffering psychological distress 3x more likely to die by suicide. There are also significant gaps in home ownership, Year 12 completion rates, and ability to access buildings and facilities. Rates of homelessness, representation in child protection, and reliance on public housing and welfare payments are also higher for people with disability.

Source- Insunews -21-27th October issue in Global news