Figures released by Statistics Netherlands show that the number of income support claimants under 65 years of age fell by 27 thousand to 302 thousand last year. This is the lowest level for 25 years.
Benefits down by 180 thousand since 1996
At the end of 1981, 250 thousand people were claiming income support. One year later this had risen to 332 thousand. At the end of 1996 more than 481 thousand people were claiming income support. This means that since 1996 the number of benefits has fallen by nearly 180 thousand.
In this period the number of people claiming income support rose only in 2003 and 2004. The largest fall was in 1997, when the number of income support benefits fell by 44 thousand, a 9 percent decrease. In 2006 the number of income support benefits paid to persons under 65 years of age fell by more than 8 percent.
Long-term benefits also down in 2006
The number of long-term benefits also fell in 2006, by 15 thousand to 248 thousand. The economic upswing contributed to this. From 2002 the number of long-term benefits rose every year. In 2005 the number of benefits lasting for longer than one year had not yet started to decrease. The fall in that year was accounted for completely by benefits paid for shorter periods.
Surprisingly, not only young people aged to 35 years benefited from the favourable economic conditions, but also persons in the age category 35 to 45 years. The number of claimants over the age of 45 hardly decreased in 2006.