Fewer income support benefits for young people in the Netherlands

Fewer income support benefits for young people in the Netherlands

New figures from Statistics Netherlands show that 314 thousand people younger than 65 years were claiming income support benefit at the end of September 2011. This is 5 thousand fewer than at the end of the previous quarter. The decrease is completely accounted for by people younger than 27 years.

The strongest fall in the third quarter was in the number of men younger than 27 years claiming income support. The number of benefits paid in this age group decreased by 11.4 percent. For women of the same age, the decrease was 7.5 percent. For people aged 27 to 64 years, the number of income support benefits decreased by 0.4 percent.

The decrease in the number of young claimants seems to contradict the most recent developments on the labour market. Unemployment is rising, for example, and the number of job vacancies is decreasing. Stricter conditions for entitlement to income support benefit are due to come into effect on 1 January 2012, including a qualifying period of four weeks in which people younger than 27 years who claim income support will be required to look for work themselves or to undertake some form of training or education. Municipalities may be granting fewer benefits in anticipation of these changes.

The decrease in the third quarter is the first in more than two and a half years. Between the beginning of 2009 and mid 2011 the number of income support benefits paid rose by an average 6 thousand per quarter.

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