Technical report

The number and characteristics of parents with intellectual disability from Centrelink income support administrative data

Technical report 2

31 Oct 2014
Description

Executive summary

This technical report details the processes undertaken to estimate the number of parents with intellectual disability on social security payments in Australia and their characteristics at a given time period.

Method

We conducted an investigation of national administrative data sources in which both intellectual disability and parenthood could be identified. This investigation is part of a larger project funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS) as part of Healthy Start. A national strategy for children of parents with learning difficulties (www.healthystart.net.au). At the request of DSS, a dataset was built from Centrelink administrative databases by extracting records of clients on Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment and Carer Payment, as well as clients on Newstart Allowance who have Family Tax Benefit qualifying children. Parenthood was determined as 'having one or more Family Tax Benefit qualifying children'. The built dataset (referred to hereafter as 'the Centrelink dataset') permitted investigation of the number and characteristics of Family Tax Benefit qualifying parents with intellectual disability among Centrelink social security payment recipients on Disability Support Pension and Parenting Payment.

Findings

A total of 5,160 parents with intellectual disability were identified in the Centrelink dataset in the selected fortnight ending 24 June 2011. A further 52,690 parents with other disabilities on Disability Support Pension and 429,290 non-disabled parents on Parenting Payment were identified. Parents with other disabilities and non-disabled parents formed two groups for comparison with the group of interest, that is, parents with intellectual disability.

- Demographic characteristics of parents with intellectual disability

Parents with intellectual disability were:

  • less likely to be female compared with non-disabled parents, but more likely to be female when compared with parents with other disabilities
  • similar in age to that of non-disabled parents, but significantly younger than parents with other disabilities
  • more likely to be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander compared with parents with other disabilities and non-disabled parents
  • more likely to be born in Australia compared with parents with other disabilities and non-disabled parents.

- Partnership status of parents with intellectual disability

Parents with intellectual disability were:

  • more likely to declare that they had a partner compared with non-disabled parents
  • among those with partners, more likely to have a partner with intellectual disability compared with parents with other disabilities and non-disabled parents.
  • among those with partners, more likely to have a partner with other disabilities compared with non-disabled parents.

- Care of children with disability by parents with intellectual disability

Parents with intellectual disability were more likely to receive Carer Allowance for the care of a child or children with disability compared with parents with other disabilities and non-disabled parents.

- Home-tenure status of parents with intellectual disability

Parents with intellectual disability were:

  • less likely to be home owners (solely or joint with someone else) compared with parents with other disabilities and non-disabled parents
  • more likely to be in government housing compared with non-disabled parents.

State of usual residence of parents with intellectual disability

Parents with intellectual disability were more likely to reside in the Northern Territory than in any other state or territory in Australia, compared with parents with other disabilities and non-disabled parents.

Summary

Compared with other Australian parents, parents with intellectual disability were more likely to be caring for a child with disability, more likely to be in public housing and more likely to live in the Northern territory. This investigation has demonstrated the utility of interrogating administrative data sets to gain insights into the comparative number and characteristics of particular sub-groups in the parent population.

Publication Details
Identifiers: 
ISSN: 
2203-739X (Online)
Published year only: 
2014
133
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