Revised version (see announcement PB05-801, 2 February 2005)
According to figures from Statistics Netherlands, 335 thousand people in the Netherlands were claiming income support at the end of September 2004. This is 3 thousand fewer than at the end of the previous quarter. The number started to fall in the second quarter of 2004, after a period of continuous increase. The number of people claiming unemployment benefit was 310 thousand at the end of September. The rate of increase in the number of unemployment benefits in the first three quarters of 2004 was half that in the same period in 2003. The number of people claiming disability benefit was 4 thousand lower in the third quarter, at 964 thousand at the end of September.
Fewer young people on income support
The number of people claiming income support fell by 3 thousand in the third quarter of 2004. Fewer young people, in particular, were claiming this benefit. At the end of September, 335 thousand income support benefits were being paid out. The introduction of a new law on work and income support on 1 January 2004 may have contributed to the fall in the number benefits claimed. From that date municipalities have a direct financial advantage if they can reduce the number of inhabitants claiming income support.
Slower increase in unemployment benefits
At the end of the third quarter of 2004, 310 thousand people were claiming unemployment benefit. After the removal of seasonal effects, the rate of the increase in unemployment benefits was considerably slower in 2004. In the first three quarters of 2004, the number of unemployment benefits rose by an average 4 thousand a month. In the same period in 2003 the increase was twice as high.
Steady decrease in disability benefits
The number of disability benefits fell by 4 thousand in the third quarter. At the end of September 964 thousand people were receiving some form of disability benefit. The decrease in the third quarter of 2004 was about the same as in the second quarter. The number of disability benefits has been falling since the beginning of 2003, mainly because the numbers of both men and women in the category 100 percent disabled have decreased. The number of partially disabled men also decreased, while the number of women in this category remained stable.
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