Altogether, 1.3 million social security, unemployment and disability benefits were paid to under-65s by the end of last year. This is a reduction by 310 thousand relative to the end of 2004. Amendments to the law and a thriving economy had a downward effect on the number of benefit recipients.
Robust reduction unemployment benefits
The reduction in the number of unemployment (WW) benefits since 2004 by more than 40 percent to 192 thousand by the end of 2007 was triggered by the recovering economy. The situation on the labour market was particularly favourable to young people. The number of benefit recipients under the age of 25 was reduced by over 75 percent and among people in the 25-35 age bracket by 70 percent. Unemployment benefits declined by only 3 percent among 55 to 65-year-olds.
Disability benefits also substantially down
The amount of disability benefits dropped by 12 percent to 847 thousand between December 2004 and the end of 2007. The reduction is almost entirely attributable to a decline in disability (WAO) benefits and disability benefits for self-employed (Waz). This is mainly the result of amendments to the law and eligibility rules. On 1 January 2006, the WAO was replaced by the Employment and Income according to Labour Capacity Act (WIA). The inflow of WIA claimants is currently smaller than the decline in WAO claimants. By the end of last year over 38 thousand WIA benefits were paid out.
Only increase in Wajong benefits
Unlike other disability benefits, the number of benefits to young disabled persons (Wajong) increased steadily between the end of 2004 and the end of 2007. By the end of last year, 167 thousand Wajong benefits were paid, an increase by 17 percent relative to the end of 2004. After abolition of the Waz scheme in 2004, the number of benefits gradually began to decline. Since December 2004, the number of Waz benefits dropped by 23 percent to nearly 43 thousand by the end of December 2007.
Social security benefits down by nearly 65 thousand
At the end of last year, 274 thousand social security benefits were paid, 19 percent down on the end of 2004. The amount of short-term benefits paid to male and female recipients declined by 40 and 30 percent respectively. Two prominent factors for the reduction in social security benefits are the favourable economic situation and the introduction of the Reformed Social Assistance Act (WWB) in 2004.
Income support benefits paid to under-65s
Ton van Maanen