In August 2003, 2.8 million children were living in families claiming a key benefit. With the introduction of New Tax Credits, additional child information for almost two hundred thousand extra families on key benefits is available. Whilst this gives a more complete picture, year-on-year comparisons are now more difficult.
231,000 children were living in families classed as 'unemployed' (those claiming Jobseeker's Allowance) and 1.57 million children lived in families classed as 'lone parents'.
The overall number of people of working age claiming a benefit fell by 118,000 between August 2000 and August 2003 to 4.95 million.
The number of people classed as unemployed fell by 156,000 over the period – a decline of 15 per cent. These figures were offset by a 5 per cent rise (137 million) in the number of sick and disabled claimants.
Claimants over state pension age receiving a key benefit have steadily risen from 10.2 million in May 1997 to 10.5 million in May 2003 – a net annual increase of 84,000 people. The majority of people within this group also receive income from other sources, such as occupational pensions and investment income.
Source: Department for Work and Pensions
The term 'children' refers collectively to children aged under 16 and young adult dependants aged 16-18 in full-time education, and for whom Child Tax Credits are payable.
For those in the Working Age group, key benefits are: Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance and Disability Living Allowance.
A family classed as unemployed will have at least one adult who receives Jobseeker's Allowance.
For Pensioners, key benefits are Minimum Income Guarantee, Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, State Pension, Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance.
The 'sick and disabled' group includes those claiming Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Income Support with a disability premium.
A family classed as disabled will have at least one adult who is in receipt of a disability benefit.