Using a measure of individual wellbeing such as life satisfaction offers a useful approach to capturing the overall impact of a diverse range of impacts of the experience of disability. Using Australian data the research finds a dramatic decline in wellbeing at the point when a person first experiences disability. This persists when the disability is defined as long-term. Indeed, the impact continues for the entire 10-year period observed within this study, suggesting there is no improvement in life satisfaction, or that disability has a largely permanent effect. The impact also depends on severity of limitation. Both results indicate a need for tailored policy support which depends on both these characteristics.