Adults 18-64 years

Last updated


Adults living with disability face a variety of challenges on a daily basis.

Discrimination and living with disability

These barriers can be attitudes, communication, transportation, policy, programs, or physical and social barriers. Some examples of these include:

  • Attitudinal – discrimination and stereotyping people with disability by assuming they are unhealthy and have poor quality of life
  • Communication – messages that cannot be understood by people with vision, auditory or cognitive impairments
  • Physical – structural obstacles that hinder people with mobility impairments, such as buildings without ramps or lifts
  • Policy – barriers within laws and regulations, such as denying qualified people with disability the opportunity to participate in or benefit from programs and services
  • Programmatic – barriers limiting the effective delivery of healthcare programs such as lack of accessibility, inconvenient scheduling, limited communication and lack of understanding
  • Social – barriers in employment, education and other areas of society

Alongside discrimination and accessibility, the main barrier adults with disability face is opportunities for employment. Statistics show approximately 53 percent of people with a disability aged between 15 and 64 years old are currently employed, compared with 83 percent of people without a disability.

Employment and living with disability

The Department of Social Services’ Disability Employment Services (DES) offers employment assistance for job seekers with disability across a network of Australian organisations. These organisations play a pivotal role in helping people with disability, injury or a health condition prepare, search for and maintain employment. DES can help in preparation for work through training in specific job skills, job search support, résumé development, interview skills and workplace modifications.

The Government’s Job Access initiative is a national hub providing information and resources to people with disability, employers and service providers.

Help and support

It is also important to note that people with disability are more likely to experience violence, fraud, abuse, neglect and sexual assault. A number of organisations including People with Disability Australia (PWDA), 1800RESPECT and Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) work tirelessly to prevent and protect people with disability from these horrific situations.

Approximately one in six adults with disability live independently, so for those who don’t, an accommodation, support and financial plan needs to be put in place for when their parents or carers are unable to support them anymore.

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