Syrian refugees and handicapped youth drive increase in welfare benefits

. ()

The number of welfare recipients rose again in the second quarter of 2016. At the end of June a total of 463 thousand people in the Netherlands below retirement age were on welfare, 21 thousand more than the year before, according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands on Wednesday. 

According to the statistics office, this increase has two main causes. The first and foremost cause is refugees. About half of the increase in welfare recipients between June 2015 and June 2016 can be attributed to refugees, mostly from Syria. A refugee is qualifies for welfare benefits once he or she has a residency permit.

The second cause is the stricter requirements for the Law labor disability benefits handicapped youth. In June of this year there were 7 thousand more young people below the age of 27 on welfare than in June last year, an increase of 16 percent. For comparison, the number of 45 year olds and older increased by 5 percent.

Since the Participation Act took affect on January 1st last year, only fully handicapped young people qualify for a benefit from the handicapped youth law. Those with a lesser disability now receive welfare benefits if they do not generate enough income.