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Mum and daughter with Down Syndrome credit iStockphoto.com/Susan Chiang

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Carers who support and look after people with disability, including parents who care for children with disability, might be able to get a Carer Payment or Carer Allowance if they meet income and assets criteria set out in the Social Security Act.
 
You don’t need to be a legal expert when you have a child with disability, but it does help to have a general understanding of disability law. Australia’s disability laws protect your child’s rights and ensure that you and your child get the support and services you need.

Australian Government laws

Disability Discrimination Act 1992 
This Act upholds and protects the equality of people with disability. It makes discrimination against adults or children with disability unlawful in certain situations, particularly in employment and education.

Disability Services Act 1986 
This Act is a detailed guide to the funding and provision of Australian Government support services for people with disability. Under this Act, the Australian Government is largely responsible for employment services. The states and territories focus on accommodation and other support services.

Social Security Act 1991
This Act lists the conditions for getting a wide variety of social security payments, including the following:

  • Disability Support Pension (DSP): this is a payment for people who are permanently blind or whose physical, intellectual or psychiatric disabilities stop them from working. The DSP can be paid only to people over 16 years of age. 
  • Sickness Allowance: this is a short-term payment in the form of income support to people who can’t work temporarily because of a medical condition. It can be paid only to people over 21 years of age.

If eligible, people with disability might also be able to get pharmaceutical and other medical benefits, such as a Health Care Card.

National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013
This Act sets up the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which supports people with significant and permanent disability as well as their families and carers.

State and territory laws

Each state and territory has disability services laws as well as specific services for people with disability, including programs especially for children and young people.

Australian Capital Territory: Disability Services Act 1991
Disability ACT provides funding and services for people with disability in the Australian Capital Territory.

New South Wales: Disability Inclusion Act 2014
Services for children with disability and their families in New South Wales are provided by NSW Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC), which administers the NSW Disability Inclusion Act.

Northern Territory: Disability Services Act 2012
Disability services in the Northern Territory are provided by the NT Department of Health.

Queensland: Disability Services Act 2006

Disability services in Queensland are provided by the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

South Australia: Disability Services Act 1993

Disability services in South Australia are provided by the SA Department of Communities and Social Inclusion. 

Tasmania: Disability Services Act 2011

Disability services in Tasmania are provided by the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services, which funds, delivers and checks on services to people with disability.

Victoria: Disability Services Act 2006

Disability services in Victoria are provided by the Department of Human Services, which administers the Disability Services Act.

Western Australia: Disability Services Act 1993

The WA Disability Services Commission funds and provides services under this Act.