Australia's Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers
Frequently Asked Questions
I've been chosen to be in the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers – what is this?
This is an important national survey that collects information about the health of people in Australia. This includes information about long term health conditions, experiences of disability, the needs of an ageing population and the provision of care for others.
How is the information from this survey used and why is it important?
Your participation in this survey is an opportunity to make a real difference. The Survey of Disability Ageing and Carers collects important information about the health and caring arrangements within Australian households. Most Australians will live to experience retirement and old age, and at some point in their lifetime will care for a family member or friend who is frail, aged, or with a disability. Furthermore, each person’s experience of ageing, disability and caring is different, as is their need for support. This is why your contribution to this survey is so valuable.
By taking part, you can ensure that your experiences and circumstances become part of the story of life in Australia today. Decisions about services provided to Australians who are carers, experience health conditions or disability, or who are aged can be made by analysing data from this survey. The information you provide will help to shape policies and services which improve the lives of all Australians.
Results are used by governments, researchers and community groups to better understand how to plan and provide services for people with long term health conditions or disability, understand the needs of an ageing population and plan the balance between providing formal care and supporting informal care arrangements. The information you provide will contribute to important decisions being made for your local area and the wider Australian community.
Why was my household selected?
Each year, we collect data about all aspects of life from thousands of households throughout Australia in order to better understand our population and future needs.
Rather than survey the whole population, we use a scientific sampling process designed to collect data which builds a picture that includes people from all areas of Australia. All households have a chance of being selected.
Once a household has been selected, another household cannot be substituted in its place, as changing the random selection could mean some parts of the community are under or over represented.
It is important that all selected households complete the survey in order to make sure the results represent the whole community. This means that decisions made about services provided by government, local councils and community groups are made using the most accurate information.
Who in my household will be required to participate?
For the first part of the survey, choose someone in your household to be the household representative. They will be asked to answer general questions about the people in your household, such as their age, cultural background, employment and education. The household representative will also be asked a series of questions about the health and caring arrangements of people in your household.
If anyone in your household has a long-term health condition, is aged over 65, or provides care to someone in these groups, we will ask them some follow-up questions.
A parent (or guardian) will be asked to complete any interviews on behalf of their children aged younger than 15 years, and to provide consent for children aged 15 to 17 years to complete the interview themselves. Parents will be able to complete the interview on the child’s behalf if consent is not given.
How do I complete the survey?
If you have been selected in this survey you will receive a letter in the mail that contains instructions on how to create an ABS Survey Account, add your secure Form Access Code, and start your survey online.
For the first part of the survey, you will be asked to answer some general questions about the people who live in your household, including their age, cultural background, employment and education. You will also be asked a series of questions about the health and caring arrangements of people in your household.
Then, if anyone in your household has a long-term health condition, is aged over 65, or provides care to someone in these groups, we will ask them some follow up questions.
If you can’t go online, please call us on 1800 655 107 so we can arrange for an ABS Interviewer to help you complete the survey. If we don’t hear from you an ABS Interviewer will visit your address to conduct the survey with you.
What kinds of questions will you ask?
We will ask you a range of questions about the support and assistance needed by people in your household. Your answers will provide information about important topics like:
Will my information be used to inform the Royal Commission/s?
The SDAC data is not directly provided to the Royal Commissions. However, confidentialised, aggregated data from previous surveys have been an important source of information for both the Royal Commission into the Violence, Neglect, Abuse and Exploitation of People with Disability and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
How do I know the person contacting me is from the ABS?
If your household has been selected to participate in this survey, you will have received a letter informing you about your selection. You can also call us on 1800 655 107 to confirm your selection.
For any personal visits, our staff will always identify themselves, show you their official ABS photo identification and clearly explain the information they are seeking and how this will be used.
You may receive calls from numbers that you are not familiar with including mobile phones or “unknown” numbers. This is because many of our Interviewers are teleworkers and use ABS authorised mobile phones and office phones to conduct interviews over the phone.
The ABS will NEVER ask you to provide or confirm your bank details or tax file number (TFN).
If you're concerned that a phone call, SMS, voicemail or email claiming to be from the ABS is not genuine, don’t reply to it. Instead, call us on 1800 655 107 and we will verify your selection in the survey and the identity of the Interviewer who is contacting you.
Will I be paid for my time?
No. There is no provision within the Census and Statistics Act 1905 to reimburse people for providing statistical information. In line with other national statistical organisations throughout the world, individuals, businesses and other organisations are asked to supply information for statistical purposes without compensation. It is only with the support of people like you that we can continue to produce the statistics that inform Australia's important decisions.
What happens if there are people in my household who don't speak English?
Where possible, we can arrange for an ABS Interviewer who is fluent in the language of the householder to conduct the survey. If there is someone in the household who can translate, and the respondent agrees, they can help the Interviewer.
How will you keep my information safe, secure and confidential?
We take the security of the information you provide to us very seriously. Your information remains strictly confidential to the ABS and is not shared with other agencies. We use the information you provide to calculate statistics, which are released in ways that do not allow for the identification of individuals or households.
All ABS employees have signed a legally enforceable Undertaking of Fidelity and Security in which they agree to keep any information, including personal information which they may deal with in the course of their work, private and confidential. This agreement applies to ABS employees for the rest of their lives, even if they leave the ABS. The penalty for breaching this is two years jail, a $26,640 fine, or both.
Will the information I provide be combined with other data?
The information you provide will be combined with the information from other respondents to produce vital statistics about Australian households.
We often combine data from two or more sources because combining data helps fill the gaps — and saves you time. Combining data helps provide a clearer picture of Australia than what can be achieved by any one survey alone, and creates new insights about our society and the economy. By reusing existing data, we reduce the need for Australian households and businesses to provide more information.
Governments, researchers and community groups will use this vital data to better understand the health and wellbeing of people in Australia. This helps to inform health programs, assess current policies, and to plan for the future.