Long-term working-age recipients of out-of-work benefits

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • At 130,000 the total number of people in Northern Ireland receiving a key out-of-work benefit for more than two years in 2010 was similar that of a decade previously.
  • While the total has changed little, the mix has altered markedly over the period, with a steady growth in the numbers of sick and disabled recipients and corresponding falls in some other groups.  Thus, the number of long-term sick and disabled recipients has risen by 20,000 over the last decade and, at 110,000, now accounts for four-fifths of all long-term recipients.
  • Long-term sickness or disability, as measured by people claiming out-of-work disability benefits for two years or more, is by no means mainly confined to people coming up to retirement.  Just a third of those claiming these benefits for two years or more are aged over 55.  A further third are aged between 45 and 54 and the remaining third are aged under 45.

Definitions and data sources

For all the graphs, the data is for the month of February of each year.

The first graph shows all those of working age who were in receipt of a ‘key out-of-work benefit’ for two years or more.

‘Key out-of-work benefits’ covers the following benefits: Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance.

For each year, the total is broken down by type of claimant: unemployed, sick and disabled, lone parents and others (e.g. carers and asylum seekers).

The data source for the first graph is the Department for Social Development (the data is not publicly available).

As can be seen from the first graph, the biggest group of long-term claimants of key out-of-work benefits are sick or disabled.  In this context, the second graph shows, for the latest year, a breakdown by reason for those who have either been in receipt of Incapacity Benefit for two years or more or are in receipt of Severe Disablement Allowance (recipients of Employment and Support Allowance are not included as data for this benefit by age is not currently available).

The data source for the second graph is the Department for Social Development IB and SDA statistics.