Data: disability and income protection gaps in Australia

A study and subsequent review of the income protection gap in Australia reveals that in 2012, 4.2 million people (18.5 per cent) reported having some form of disability. On top of this, 4.7 million people (21 per cent) said they had a long-term health condition that did not restrict their everyday activities. 

Australia's population is currently about 24 million. 

Between 2003 and 2012, disability fell in Australia by 1.5 per cent, but the rate of profound or core activity limitation stayed about the same at 6.3 per cent in 2003, compared to 6.1 per cent in 2012. 

State-by-state disability benefits

The jurisdiction where the benefit is offered chooses the award. About 95 per cent of earnings are paid for at least 13 weeks, and benefits may be paid at extended periods for lesser amounts. 

A lump sum is paid out for a dependent survivor, and for each child aged under 16 (up to age 25 for full-time students) a fortnightly payment is made. 

The total premiums for life insurance hit $62.3 billion in 2014

Australia's emerging disability risk is high levels of obesity with widespread diabetes - up to 15 per cent of Australians live with diabetes which can result in blindness, amputations, and other debilitating health and mobility problems. 

The superannuation guarantee and mandatory superannuation now usually comes with default life insurance. 

The disability support pension (means tested unless blind and unable to work at least 15 hours per week for minimum wage) is up to $777 fortnightly for a single person aged 21 or over, and $586 for one half of a couple. A mobility allowance is paid at a standard rate of $89 or a higher rate of $125 every fortnight, and is not means tested. 

If you are the survivor of an unexpected death, you can claim a means-tested $1030 per calendar month.

Claims are all asset tested - those with less than $200,000 in assets can claim in full, and those with assets above $300,000 are disqualified from any claim. 

Work-related injury or permanent disability compensation is an employer-run program by individual states via a public or private organisation. Any employed person is covered. Payments vary between states/territories, and are related to the pain, suffering, and impairment.

Download the Income Protection Gap Country Breakdown