Hefty increase in income support benefits

08/07/2005 09:30

The figures on income support in this press release have been adjusted. For more information see the press announcement of 11 August 2005.

The number of people in the Netherlands claiming income support rose substantially in the first quarter of 2005. The number of unemployment benefits rose slightly, and the number of disablement benefits fell sharply in the first three months of 2005, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands.

Hefty increase in income support

At the end of March 2005, 327 thousand income support benefits were being paid. In the previous quarter this was 316 thousand. This means that the number of benefits rose by an average 3 to 4 thousand a month. By comparison, in 2004 the number of benefits rose by nearly one hundred per month on average.

New series for statistics on income support

In order to publish figures on income support benefits sooner, Statistics Netherlands has changed the survey method for these statistics. Starting from January 2005 the figures refer to the number of income support benefits registered in the month under review. Before then, benefits with retrospective effect, based on information that became available only later, were also counted. The figures for 2003 and 2004 have been recalculated according to the new method. 

Slight increase in unemployment benefits

At the end of March 2005, 341 thousand people were receiving unemployment benefit. After seasonal adjustment this comes to 329 thousand. After seasonal adjustment the number of benefits rose by just over one thousand a month in the first quarter of 2005. In the second half of last year the increase was just under one thousand a month.

The increase in unemployment benefits is completely accounted for by women. The number of women claiming unemployment benefit rose by one thousand a month in the last six months. The number of men claiming this benefit has been almost stable for three quarters now.

Number of disablement benefits falling faster

At the end of March 2005, 950  thousand people were claiming one of the three disablement benefits (WAO, WAZ, Wajong). This is nearly 22 thousand fewer than twelve months previously. The number of benefits claimed fell by more than 10 thousand in the first quarter of 2005. In the previous three quarters the decrease was nearly 4 thousand per quarter. The increase in the rate of decrease was caused partly by the results of medical re-assessments of people claiming a disablement benefit, and partly by the fact that employees must be off work for two years before they may claim the benefit.

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