Number of income support benefits up again

  • 290 thousand income support benefits
  • Rise of 10 thousand in first quarter of 2010
  • Strongest increase for men under 27 years

According to figures from Statistics Netherlands, the number of people younger than 65 years in the Netherlands claiming income support rose again in the first quarter of 2010. At the end of March  2010, 290 thousand income support benefits were paid, nearly 10 thousand more than in the previous quarter. In relative terms, the strongest rise was for men younger than 27 years.

The number of income support benefits fell to 259 thousand between March 2005 and the end of 2008. Since then it has risen, by 32 thousand overall. This is an average of 6 thousand benefits per quarter. The increase of 10 thousand in the first quarter of 2010 is clearly above this average.

The largest relative increase in the first quarter of 2010 was for men under the age of 27 years. In this group, the number of benefits rose by 15 percent from the previous quarter. For all men aged under 65 years the increase was 5 percent. By comparison: for women under 27 the increase was 5 percent, and for all women the increase was 2 percent.

One of the causes of the increase in the number of young people claiming income support is their vulnerable position on the labour market. In times of economic recession they are more likely to lose their job. If young people are eligible for unemployment benefit it is only for a short period. Because of their short period in work, their entitlement to unemployment benefit is limited. Once unemployment benefit is discontinued, they often receive income support. Sectors of industry in which many men work have been particularly affected by the economic crisis: business services, transport and manufacturing.

Some youngsters aged under 27 years receive a benefit under the scheme ‘Investment in young people’ (Wet Investeren in Jongeren or WIJ). These benefits are included in income support benefits. At the end of March 2010, 10 thousand people were claiming a WIJ benefit.