The number of people claiming income support in the Netherlands remained fairly stable in 2004. The number of people receiving unemployment benefit did increase, but the rise has slowed down substantially. The number of people receiving incapacity benefit continues to fall, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands.
Number of income support claimants unchanged
At the end of 2004, 337 thousand people in the Netherlands were receiving income support. This is one thousand more than one year previously. In 2003 the number of claimants was still 16 thousand higher than the year before. The number of income support claimants has been fluctuating between 336 and 339 thousand since the fourth quarter of 2003.
Increase in unemployment benefits slowing down
The number of people claiming unemployment benefit was 323 thousand at the end of 2004. This is 37 thousand more than at the end of 2003. The increase in the number of unemployment benefits more than halved in 2004 compared with 2003, however. After correction for seasonal effects, the number of benefits rose by an average one thousand a month in the last quarter of 2004. In the third quarter the number of benefits remained unchanged, while in the first two quarters of 2004 it rose by an average 5 to 6 thousand a month.
Slightly more women claiming unemployment benefit
The slight increase in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the last quarter of 2004 was completely accounted for by women. After adjustment for seasonal effects the number of women claiming unemployment benefit in this period rose by 4 thousand. The number of men claiming unemployment benefit fell by one thousand.
Incapacity benefits continue to fall
The number of people claiming one of the three incapacity benefits fell to 961 thousand last year. This is 21 thousand fewer than at the end of 2003. In 2003 it also fell, by 11 thousand.
Largest fall for completely incapacitated claimants
The number of people claiming incapacity benefit fell more strongly in 2004 for people claiming the whole benefit than for those receiving a partial benefit. The number of benefits claimed by people who are completely incapacitated fell by 18 thousand, while the number claiming partial benefit fell by 4 thousand. The difference is partly accounted for by completely incapacitated people who receive a partial benefit after medical re-examination has pronounced them fit to work part-time.
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