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Intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) influence the interactions of a person with their environment and generate economic and socioeconomic costs for the person, their family and society.
To estimate costs of lost workforce participation due to informal caring for people with intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorders by estimating lost income to individuals, lost taxation payments to federal government and increased welfare payments.
We used a microsimulation model based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Surveys of Disability, Ageing and Carers (population surveys of people aged 15–64), and projected costs of caring from 2015 in 5-year intervals to 2030.
The model estimated that informal carers of people with intellectual disability and/or ASD in Australia had aggregated lost income of AU$310 million, lost taxation of AU$100 million and increased welfare payments of AU$204 million in 2015. These are projected to increase to AU$432 million, AU$129 million and AU$254 million for income, taxation, and welfare respectively by 2030. The income gap of carers for people with intellectual disability and/or ASD is estimated to increase by 2030, meaning more financial stress for carers.
Informal carers of people with intellectual disability and/or ASD experience significant loss of income, leading to increased welfare payments and reduced taxation revenue for governments; these are all projected to increase. Strategic policies supporting informal carers wishing to return to work could improve the financial and psychological impact of having a family member with intellectual disability and/or ASD.
The impact of mental disorders has been assessed in relation to longevity and quality of life; however, mental disorders also have an impact on productive life-years (PLYs).
To quantify the long-term costs of Australians aged 45–64 having lost PLYs because of mental disorders.
The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2003, 2009 formed the base population of Health&WealthMOD2030 – a microsimulation model integrating output from the Static Incomes Model, the Australian Population and Policy Simulation Model, the Treasury and the Australian Burden of Disease Study.
For depression, individuals incurred a loss of AU$1062 million in income in 2015, projected to increase to AU$1539 million in 2030 (45% increase). The government is projected to incur costs comprising a 22% increase in social security payments and a 45% increase in lost taxes as a result of depression through its impact on PLYs.
Effectiveness of mental health programmes should be judged not only in terms of healthcare use but also quality of life and economic well-being.
Declaration of interest
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