Sharp fall in unemployed people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance

Today the UK’s leading financial capability charity The Money Charity releases The Money Statistics, giving an overview of the financial situation facing people in the UK.

Statistics this month show that that fewer adults are claiming benefits that at any time this millennium. Just 4.726 million people not in work aged 16 and above are claiming some form of benefit.

G1 July MSSource: Office for National Statistics

This drop is driven by the falling numbers of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance. From a peak of 1.59 million jobseekers in February 2012, the claimant count fell by more than a million to 581 thousand by November 2015.

On the face of it, this is a positive sign – fewer people needing to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance is a sign that more are in employment. But the picture is a little more complicated.
The unemployment rate has also fallen about a million from a peak of 2.7 million in 2011 to under 1.7 million in November 2015. But the drop in claimant count is also driven by a sharp fall in the proportion of unemployed people claiming benefits that they are entitled to.

In 2000, 69% of people who were out of work claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance. By 2012, this had fallen to 60%. And by November last year, just 34% of unemployed people were claiming.

For whatever reason, a greater proportion of unemployed people are not claiming the benefits they’re entitled to. The benefits system is there to help people manage their finances in difficult situations. And it is important for financial wellbeing that everyone understands what the tax and benefits system has to offer.

There may be positive reasons not to claim, but such a sharp decline in claimant rates suggests that for many unemployed people, this is not the case.

G2 July MSSource: Office for National Statistics

Michelle Highman, CEO of The Money Charity said:

“It is great news that more people are finding work. If you’re newly in employment, you have the opportunity to take control of your life and finances and we wish you well. But we at The Money Charity worry that many unemployed people are not accessing financial help they are entitled to in some of the hardest times in their lives.”

“If you want help to understand the benefits you’re entitled to, we recommend that you visit www.turn2us.org.uk or contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau by calling 0345 404 0506.”

Get the full picture, and many more fascinating facts about money in the UK in our monthly Money Statistics.