According to the law, in case of health anomalies that are difficult to treat or are considered not removable, an Australian citizen is entitled to a particular disability group. The special status of a person with restrictions, regardless of age, guarantees them a pension and various preferences. Disabled people are usually classified according to their ability to work and self-service. Considering these opportunities and the degree of their loss, three disability groups exist. First group beneficiaries, due to significant health restrictions, need assistance in moving and taking care of themselves. Often, such citizens are diagnosed with problems with orientation in time and space, communication, and behavior control. In the second group, the individual’s abilities are partially preserved; special devices help the disabled person cope with everyday tasks, walk, and even work in particular conditions. Finally, citizens in the third group can serve themselves, move around, and work quite freely, but at a slower pace than ordinary people.
Perception of Disabled
Currently, the number of people with disabilities, including many young people and children, is constantly increasing. The change in their perception is manifested in the fact that disability is becoming a not only for one person problem but for society as a whole. Moreover, the change in the perception of disability is that nowadays, both people with physical and mental disabilities fall under the category of persons with disabilities. In addition, the attitude regarding the employment of disabled people has changed. Previously, the adaptability of the workplace, the availability of a restroom, and the standardization of the working day were not regulated at the legislative level. Today, the labor market is more adapted to the needs of disabled people than before (Carey et al., 2017). The state also took into account the low economic situation of the considered category. Through various reforms, Australia’s policy has been redirected to creating conditions that ensure a decent life for people with disabilities.
Effect of Social Policy Debates on The Disabled
For a long time, social policy debates were conducted at the state level in Australia, which led to changes to the Australian welfare state. Various draft laws were proposed for consideration, designed to facilitate social services for people with disabilities. For example, a draft law was reviewed according to which, when concluding a fixed-term employment contract on a part-time basis, the minimum wage is applied to calculate the employee’s remuneration. Next, a bill was passed that exempts from contributing to significant repairs of common property in an apartment building. It would allow people with disabilities to repay no more than 50 percent of the specified contribution (Nikidehaghani et al., 2019). A draft law was also considered, according to which it was proposed to move to set the subsistence minimum. It should have been based on the median per capita income for disabled people in recent years. As a result of the approved economic and health reforms, the lives of disabled people have changed for the better.
Process of Adopting Social Policy
The draft laws were adopted in a confident and effective interaction of representative and direct forms of democracy. This, in turn, was the basis for a dialogue between the state and society. The development and effectiveness of public debates led to the implementation of the legislative process by the state representatives. The Government was active in the dialogue with society, and social activists participated in adopting state-important decisions regarding the disabled. At the same time, the various approaches used by legislators when adopting normative acts led to multiple results of using the institute of discussions. This led to the need for medical and economic generalization and comprehension (Stewart et al., 2020). The public forum for drafting laws concerning persons with disabilities was quite vigorous. Meetings of activists were organized, and the received proposals were considered when preparing the final decision on the bill.
Social Policy Domains
One of the most critical areas of social policy put forward by the legislation and supported by the public was the income support program for disabled people. This group of citizens needed the help of the state more than others; it was decided to provide them with cash payments and other benefits. Citizens with limited physiological capabilities are considered an unprotected social category; they do not have the opportunity to work fully. During the pandemic, the financial provision for disabled people became even worse, so it was decided to allocate financial assistance to them at the state level (Souza et al., 2021). It was stipulated that disabled people and disabled children can receive a monthly cash payment, which the pension fund determines. The policy in income support for disabled people was carried out in three directions: social, labor, and state.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
The social policy on disability insurance strives for sustainability, inclusiveness, and commitment. NDIS is designed to make it as accessible as possible so that the insured has the opportunity to exercise their rights fully. The state fully guarantees the insured’s rights and protects them from various risks, regardless of their financial situation. It regulates the system of compulsory social insurance and is responsible for the targeted spending (Cortese et al., 2020). Insured persons with disabilities are entitled to a social pension; part of this payment can be directed to the provision of social services necessary for a disabled person. The insurance also includes receiving monthly monetary compensation, which replaces the city’s social services. It also covers the payment for a carer who is looking after a disabled person until they reach 23.
Services Fundamental to Inclusivity
Income support for disabled people and a high-quality and affordable insurance system (such as NDIS) are essential services to inclusivity. Inclusion can become a foundation for positive changes in society and its attitude to people with disabilities. It affects the entire complex of social relations – from work and communication to entertainment and cultural life. A friendly atmosphere and accessibility should be provided everywhere, and the barriers to mass consciousness and the environment should be overcome. Inclusion does not infringe on the rights of healthy people; with its help, an essential step in social development is realized – the right to a decent existence, education, and work for all (Colon-Cabrera et al., 2021). Without the state’s financial support, most disabled people would have been left without means of subsistence. Assistance to people with disabilities allows them to be active participants in public relations, which is a crucial criterion for inclusivity.
The issues of social support for vulnerable groups of the population are legally assigned to the Australian Government. Disabled people are inseparably integrated into social reality; at the same time, they are more or less subject to social exclusion and marginalization. Providing individuals with a decent life requires much more effort than ensuring normal living conditions at the median social level. In this case, the disability NDI scheme and income support were developed as mechanisms that determine the possibility of overcoming these potential obstacles and disability barriers (Devine et al., 2021). The social protection and social services provided by the social policy fully or partially compensated for the restrictions and increased the availability of equal opportunities for leading a decent life. Thus, these measures of social support in the form of benefits, compensations, and cash payments play a fundamental role in integration in this population group to achieve the inclusiveness goal.
Protection Against Risk
People with disabilities belong to an unprotected group of citizens; socio-economic threats and risks are increased. The danger of illness and injury, unemployment, and reduced competitiveness in the labor market become much more likely and dangerous for them. These factors can most likely lead a disabled person to loss of livelihood or even death (Wilson et al., 2020). Therefore, the most crucial task of the state has become the development of an effective social policy aimed at reducing and preventing social risks. These measures were implemented by creating conditions for ensuring the socio-economic security of people with disabilities. Improving health through the disability NDI scheme and providing sufficient income through income support has significantly reduced the risks for this population group. Social benefits, pensions, monetary compensation, and non-material support in the form of insurance protect disabled people from the risk of losing their livelihoods.
Effective integration of disabled people implies an active state policy in fighting against such a common phenomenon as poverty. Before introducing income support reforms and the disability NDI scheme, it accompanied disability in most cases, often being synonymous with it. As a result of implementing these measures, many social standards have changed qualitatively in Australian society, including the wealth of disabled people (Foster et al., 2021). Persons with disabilities are entitled to a set of social services according to the insurance. It includes free medical provision and free travel to the place of therapy. Due to the high level of social guarantees, the disabled were provided with basic minimum incomes. Since they correspond in size to the average salary and pension, they meet society’s current standards of consumption.
Balancing Life Cycle Needs
Meeting the needs of the life cycle of disabled people also requires special state regulations. With the help of cash payments as part of income support and insurance payments, people with disabilities have the opportunity to balance their life cycle needs. In particular, this is done by creating a barrier-free environment and ensuring unhindered access to information (Keramat et al., 2021). With the help of the state, the disabled can meet their needs in communication. This can be achieved by taking sign language courses, learning to read Braille, and using the services of a sign language interpreter. Moreover, the requirements of the life cycle include the availability of acceptable housing conditions. With the government’s economic assistance, disabled people are provided with housing at the expense of the budget based on their need for improvement.
Social, psychological, and physical barriers in society cause social exclusion of people with disabilities themselves and the households they belong to. The directions of the state policy on income support and social insurance help to partially solve the problem of inequality, which causes discrimination against people with disabilities. The Government reduces inequality in the material sphere based on disability, and this area is closely related to other aspects of human activity. Thus, before introducing the above-mentioned socio-economic programs, people with disabilities faced difficulties mastering the fields of education, work, and creating their own families. (Wilson et al., 2019). The introduction of income support programs and the disability NDI scheme decreased the negatively colored characteristics of their social well-being and financial situation compared to citizens without disabilities.
Positive Impact of Social Policy
The strategy adopted by the Australian Government to improve the financial situation through the social insurance program and income support has many strengths. Thus, the economic factor of social adaptation of disabled people positively affected the regulatory, reproductive, communicative, and cognitive inclusive complexes. Social protection measures in the economic sphere have strengthened social and psychological support for people with disabilities, increasing their status and social activity. Scientists have recognized the dominance of the external determination of the process of their social adaptation over the internal one in disabled people (Soldatic, 2018). This distribution of the significance of factors indicates a rather important role in the financial situation. It often determines, in many ways, the attitude of the population to people with disabilities. Thus, the strengths of income support and the implementation of the disability NDI scheme are to increase the inclusiveness and integration of disabled people due to strengthening their financial situation.
Negative Impact of Social Policy
The state policy on economic support for disabled people has one significant drawback – the lack of an individual approach to each specific case. It is advisable to differentiate disabled people into small groups with different needs. For example, when insuring some people with disabilities, special attention should be paid to the need for comfortable living conditions. The amount of income support for another group may be determined by the need to meet the requirements for education or employment. Social insurance is common to all in the proposed NDI scheme, while individual terms of contracts would be more effective. The program would be chosen not only depending on the degree of loss of the ability to carry out self-service and move independently. Individual medical indicators and medications are taken, and their cost and effectiveness would also be taken into account. By customizing each insurance case, more needs of individuals with disabilities would be met. The type of insurance and the specifics of the risks covered would also determine the necessary income support for a particular person.
Potential Future Issues
Social insurance and income support for vulnerable segments of citizens is a significant part of government spending. This fact may lead to future issues related to obtaining a disability (Devine et al., 2021). Medical and social commissions will increasingly refuse even those people who need a disability group. Not everyone who requires social protection measures will be recognized as a disabled person. Disability will be established only as a last resort when the existing health disorders in terms of severity lead to severe social restrictions. This way, savings will be achieved on benefits, technical means of rehabilitation, and rehab services. Then many people with disabilities will be deprived of any help and support from the state.
The solution to this possible problem may be associated with establishing independent medical examinations to determine disability. If a person disagrees that he was considered able-bodied or his disability was removed, it will be necessary to file a complaint with this body (Wilson et al., 2020). It will be possible to simplify the judicial and non-judicial procedures for appealing the results of a clinical medical examination. It is also necessary to shorten the period for appealing decisions and the period for making a controversial decision. At the same time, it is essential to exclude the grounds on which it is possible to suspend the consideration of the complaint. Within a month from the date of registration of the application, independent experts will conduct a second check. Based on the results obtained, a verdict will be made on the complaint. To protect their rights, the state will also have to provide a lawyer for a disabled person, which will ensure the impartiality and fairness of the procedure.
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