Retirement and People with Intellectual Disability in the Australian Context

Roger J Stancliffe, Michelle Brotherton, Kate O'Loughlin, Nathan Wilson


This paper examines retirement by older workers with intellectual disability. Much research and intervention about retirement and intellectual disability in the last decade or so emanates from Australia, although there are some current cross-sectional and descriptive studies from other developed countries. The Australian literature stands out as the forerunner in the development and controlled evaluation of interventions to support the process of preparing for, practicing, and then experiencing retirement. Therefore, this paper begins by briefly describing retirement-related aspects of employment for people with intellectual disability in Australia. Next, we present a critical summary of Australian research on the retirement of people with intellectual disability, supported by a briefer analysis of international literature. Then, key issues, such as financial factors, age of retirement, the time course of retirement (sudden or gradual), and self-determination regarding the decision to retire, are explored. Finally, to help guide future research and policy, we identify a number of retirement-related research questions that are currently under-researched or unexamined.

Suggested Citation

Stancliffe, R. J., Brotherton, M., O’Loughlin, K., & Wilson, N. J. (2023). Retirement and People with Intellectual Disability in the Australian Context. Disabilities, 3(4), 579–590.


Peer-Reviewed Article 
Volume 3, Number 4


  • Community life
    • Aging and retirement
  • Specific disability
    • Intellectual/developmental disability (IDD)