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Benefit claim rates

Key points

  • The biggest gap in benefit claim rates is among recipients of housing benefit: 26% of households in London received housing benefit in 2012 compared to an England average of 20%.
  • The second largest gap in benefit claim rates is among recipients of non-means tested disability benefits: 7% of adults in London claimed one of these benefits compared to 10% in England.
  • 25% of households in London received council tax benefit, slightly higher than England as a whole (at 23%).
  • On average 11% of working-age people claimed an out-of-work benefit in London, the same as the average for England. Both rates have fallen slightly in the last ten years.

Benefit claim rates

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What does this graph show?

The graph shows us how the proportion of people or households claiming different benefits has changed between 2002 and 2012. This allows us to see if London differs from the average for England and how this has changed over time. It is important to not compare the claim rates of different benefits directly, as the data is published at different levels: housing benefit is for the household whilst disability living allowance is for the individual. But the graph does demonstrate how the claim rates for different benefits have moved in different directions.

On the left it shows the proportion of working-age adults that claimed an out-of-work benefit (as shown within London in the map above). On average 11% of working-age people claimed an out-of-work benefit in London, the same as the average for England. Both rates have fallen slightly in the last ten years.

This measurement closely corresponds to the worklessness trends we saw in the work chapter. If the graph showed the intervening years, we would see the rate fall somewhat from 2002 until the recession and then increase to the level in 2012.

The next part of the graph shows the proportion of adults (all people aged 18 and over) that claimed either of the non-means tested disability benefits (Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance). It shows that 7% of adults in London claimed one of these benefits compared to 10% in England. This three percentage point gap between London and England can largely be explained by London's younger population, who are less likely to have a disability.

A quarter of households London received council tax benefit, slightly higher than England as a whole (at 23%). Both the rate for London and England has increased by 5 percentage points in ten years.

Finally, on the far right the graph shows that 26% of households in London received housing benefit in 2012, much higher than the average for England at 20%. The rate in London has also grown faster, increasing by 6 percentage points in ten years compared to 4 percentage points in England as a whole.

People claiming an out-of-work benefit are automatically entitled to housing benefit and council tax benefit if they are liable to pay rent / council tax. So it is unusual that the proportion claiming housing benefit has increased when the proportion claiming an out-of-work benefit has hardly changed.

The proportion of households claiming housing benefit is particularly high in London and the gap with the rest of England is growing. The housing section shows that housing problems in London are more severe than the rest of England and the low income chapter showed that London's high poverty rates are closely linked to housing costs. To find out more about housing benefit claims see the indicator on housing benefit caseload.

Data used

DWP benefit claim data matched to Census household and population data

NOTE: The data on this page may not be the most recent available because this indicator was not updated in our most recent report, published in October 2015. Nevertheless, we have chosen to keep the page live because it tells an important story about poverty in London, and the general pattern described here is unlikely to have changed significantly.

Indicator last updated: 2 December 2015