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The department of social security has published the latest ...
The department of social security has published the latest

estimates of the take-up of the main income related benefits in Great

Britain: Housing Benefit, Income Support, Family Credit and Council

Tax Benefit. All estimates relate to the financial year 1996/97.

Take-up is measured in two ways: by caseload and by expenditure.

Caseload take-up compares the number of benefit recipients - averaged

over the year - with the number who would be receiving if everyone

took up their entitlement for the full period of their entitlement.

Expenditure take-up compares the total amount of benefit received, in

the course of a year, with the total amount that would be received if

everyone took up their entitlement for the full period of their

entitlement. So take-up would reach 100% only if all those eligible

claimed, and did so for the full duration of their entitlement.

The key results are:

Benefit Take-up

Housing benefit take-up in 1996/97 was in the range 93% to 97%

(refer to note 4 in Notes) by expenditure and 90% to 95% by caseload.

The amount of housing benefit left unclaimed by entitled people was

between£320m and£700m. The average number of people

leaving this benefit unclaimed was in the range 230 thousand to 510

thousand. The total amount claimed was£9,870m, claimed by 4.7

million recipients (refer to note 5 in Notes).

By family type, take-up of housing benefit appears highest among lone

parents: in the range 98% to 100% by expenditure and 97% to 100% by

caseload. Take-up by pensioners appears to be lowest amongst the

different family types at between 91% to 94% by expenditure and 87%

to 92% by caseload.

By tenure type, take-up of housing benefit by local authority tenants is higher than that by private tenants: 95% to 98% compared to 91% to 95% by expenditure respectively and 93% to 97% compared to 87% to 93% by caseload respectively.

The pattern of take-up of housing benefit in 1996/97 is very

similar to that in 1995/96 and it cannot be concluded that take-up

has risen or fallen.

Non-recipients tend to have smaller entitlements to housing

benefit than recipients. It appears that recipients of income support

and recipients of council tax benefit are more likely to take-up

their entitlement to housing benefit than their non-recipient


Support Take-up

Income Support take-up in 1996/97 was in the range 87% to 91%

by expenditure and 74% to 80% by caseload.

amount of Income Support left unclaimed was between£1,240m and£1,800m. The average number of people entitled to

income support and yet not claiming it was in the range 1.07 million

and 1.55 million. This compares to 4.37 million people claiming

£11,860m worth of Income Support (refer to note 6 in Notes).

By family type, take-up was lowest for single female pensioners at

between 72% and 77% by expenditure and between 59% and 65% by

caseload. Take-up of income support by lone parents is probably the

highest at 97% by expenditure and at between 95% by caseload (refer to note 4 in Notes).

Take-up of income support is much the same in 1996/97 as it

was in 1995/96 by both expenditure and caseload. There appears to

have been a slight increase in take-up by pensioners between 1995/96

and 1996/97 although the evidence is not conclusive.

As with housing benefit, the amounts of income support left unclaimed

by entitled non-recipients tend to be smaller than the amounts

actually claimed. Some entitled non-recipients of income support had

significant amounts of other income (besides council tax benefit and

housing benefit): 39% of all single entitled non-recipients had other

income exceeding£75 per week; two thirds of all entitled

non-recipient couples had other income exceeding£100 per week - 26%

had more than£150 per week. Some entitled non-recipients shared

households with other benefit units and may have been sharing

resources with them as well. Overall, 37% of entitled non-recipients

lived in households of this type.

Tax Benefit Take-up

Council tax benefit take-up for 1996/97 was in the range 76% to

82% by expenditure and 74% to 80% by caseload.

amount of council tax benefit left unclaimed by entitled

non-recipients was in the range£460m to£670m. The

average number of people entitled yet not claiming, was between 1.34

million and 1.99 million. There were 5.53 million recipients

accounting for£2,100m of council tax benefit.

family type, in common with both income support and housing

benefit, take-up of council tax benefit appears to be lowest amongst

pensioners: 67% to 74% by expenditure and 65% to 72% by caseload; and

highest amongst lone parents: 91% to 95% by expenditure and 90% to

95% by caseload.

By tenure type, take-up is highest amongst local authority tenants:

at least 90% by expenditure and at least 88% by caseload. Take-up is

lowest amongst owner occupiers: at least 56% by expenditure and at

least 52% by caseload.

Take-up of council tax benefit in 1996/97 appears to be

little different than in 1995/96 by both expenditure and caseload.

weekly entitlements of council tax benefit were lower than those

of other income related benefits, the average weekly unclaimed amount

being£6.50. This could help to explain why some entitled

non-recipients do not claim their benefit. It appears that take-up of

council tax benefit is higher amongst those who already claim other

income related benefits.

Credit Take-up

Family credit take-up in 1996/97 was 84% by expenditure and

72% by caseload.

The amount of family credit left unclaimed was£330m. The

average number of entitled non- recipients was 230,000. An

average 610,000 people received£1,730m worth of family


family type, take-up by single parents was higher at 87% by

expenditure and 79% by caseload than for couples at 81% by

expenditure and 67% by caseload.

There has been no significant change in family credit

take-up between 1995/96 and 1996/97. Take-up by couples does appear

to have increased slightly, although sampling variation (refer

to note 7 in the Notes) has a large impact on family

credit take-up statistics so it is difficult to be certain.


all four benefits together, there was between #2,350 million

and #3,500 million left unclaimed in 1996/97; this compares to

#25,560 million that was claimed which represents take-up by

expenditure of between about 88% and 92%. There were between 2.87

million and 4.28 million entitled non-recipients compared to 15.2

million recipients. This represents take-up by caseload of between

about 78% and 84%.


. 'Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 1996/97' is an

annual publication of the Government Statistical Service, released by

the Department of Social Security (DSS): ISBN 1 84123 068 5 price

#15. Questions about the figures can be referred to Ian Davis (0171

962 8222) of the DSS Analytical Services Divison ASD3A, Department of

Social Security, Room 4-56, The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street,

London WC2N 6HT. Questions about DSS policy should be referred to DSS

press office (0171-238-0866). Requests for copies of the publication

should be directed to Corporate Document Services Publications

Orderline (Tel : 0113 399 4040 or Fax : 0113 399 4205)

. These estimates only cover people living in private households -

i.e: they do not cover people in residential care and nursing homes

nor those in bed and breakfast accommodation - and do not cover full

time self-employed people. Take-up for these groups cannot be

assessed from the available information: the Family Resources Survey

(FRS) is a survey of private households only; and the information on

the incomes of the self-employed in the FRS is not sufficient to

allow accurate assessment of their entitlement to income related


. The data used to estimate take-up comes from two main sources.

Counts of the numbers of benefit recipients are taken from the DSS's

own administrative records. The numbers of benefit units not taking

up their entitlement to benefit are estimated using the sample of

households from the Family Resources Survey - an annual survey of

about 25,000 households conducted for the DSS.

. Estimates of the take-up of Housing Benefit and Council Tax

Benefit are presented as ranges within which true take-up is expected

to lie. These 'ranges of true take-up' account for biases inherent in

estimates made from data that is less than perfect. For Income

Support, the majority of take-up estimates are presented as ranges,

but the estimates for lone parents are presented as point estimates.

This is because the available evidence suggests that the potential

for bias in the estimation of numbers of lone parent entitled

non-recipients is very low. Estimates of the take-up of Family Credit

are presented as point estimates - the six monthly nature of Family

Credit means that it is not possible to assess the extent of the bias

in the estimates of numbers of entitled non- recipients as we do for

the other benefits.

. Estimates of the total amount of Housing Benefit claimed and the

total number of HousingBenefit recipients exclude cases of claims

being processed but have not yet been settled, some of which will

result in awards of benefit.

. Those people unemployed and actively seeking full time work have,

since October 1996 been required to claim Job Seeker's Allowance.

Estimates of the total amount of Income Support claimed and the total

number of Income Support recipients presented here exclude, from

October 1996, those unemployed and actively seeking full time work.

. The uncertainty in an estimate due to taking a random sample of

the population which may not reflect the characteristics of the whole

population is known as sampling variation or sampling error. Data

from the Family Resources Survey, which selects a random sample from

the private household population, is used in the estimation of

take-up statistics, so take-up statistics are affected by sampling


. Care should be taken when interpreting changes in take-up over

time. As it is not possible to identify a single estimate of true

take-up, year to year changes in the ranges do not necessarily mean

that the true level of take-up has changed.

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