More people are claiming welfare, but the rise is slowing

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The number of people claiming welfare benefits (bijstand) rose in the third quarter of this year but the rate of increase has now been slowing down for a full year, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday.

Compared with September 2016, the number of people below pension age claiming welfare rose 6,000 to 465,000. But the number of people aged 27 to 45 on the basic benefits fell by 4,000 year on year.

Since the jobless total hit a peak in early 2014, the Dutch unemployment total has fallen 40%. The rise in welfare benefit claims in third quarter of this year is largely due to the influx of refugees, who can claim bijstand once they have a residency permit.

The figures do not include poor pensioners who are not entitled to a full state pension and can claim welfare benefits to make up the difference.