Income support benefits continue to rise

  • Rise in number of benefits for three successive quarters
  • 5 thousand more benefits in third quarter
  • More benefits mainly for men under 35 years

The number of income support benefits paid to people younger than 65 years has risen for the third quarter in a row. According to figures from Statistics Netherlands, 275 thousand people in the Netherlands were claiming income support benefit at the end of September 2009. This is 5 thousand up on the previous quarter.

The increase in the number of income support benefits is consistent with the weakening labour market. The increase is smaller than the increase in unemployment benefits, which most people who lose their job receive first. In the third quarter of 2009, the number of unemployment benefits rose from 221 thousand to 249 thousand after seasonal adjustment.

The increase in the number of income support benefits was slightly smaller in the third quarter than in the second quarter, when it rose by 7 thousand. In relative terms the increase was largest for men under the age of 35: 6 percent.  For women in this age group, it rose by 3 percent.

At the end of 2008, 259 thousand people were claiming income support. In the space of four years the number of benefits had fallen by 80 thousand. In the first quarter of 2009 it started to grow again. In the first three quarters of 2009, the increase was 16 thousand. The rise was especially large for people younger than 35 years: 17 percent. And for young men the increase was four times as large as for young women. The number of income support benefits paid to single people rose by twice as much as those paid to couples.

At the end of September 2009, 64 thousand claimants had been receiving income support for less than a year. This is 16 thousand up on the end of 2008. The number of people claiming income support for a longer term remained stable in this period.