Estimates of the take-up of the main income-related benefits by caseload and expenditure in Great Britain.
These national statistics provide estimates of the total and average amounts of benefit claimed and unclaimed for:
- Income Support and income-related Employment and Support Allowance (IS/ESA (IR))
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit (including Local Housing Allowance)
- Council Tax Benefit
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based) (JSA (IB))
Notes and definitions
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, averaged over the year, with the total amount that would be received if everyone took up their entitlement for the full period of their entitlement.
Take-up statistics are presented as ranges within which it is judged true take-up lies. These ‘ranges of true take-up’ account for the effects of sampling and non-sampling error.
Estimates cover the private household population in Great Britain and therefore omit people living in residential care nursing homes and some other, mostly small, groups. Also the full-time self-employed are excluded as the underlying data sources do not have sufficient information on incomes of the self-employed to allow a reliable assessment of benefit eligibility.
Main points from the latest release
The latest Income related benefits: estimates of take-up national statistics produced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) were released on 23 February 2012 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.
Take-up in 2009 to 2010 was in the range 77% to 89% by caseload and 82% to 92% by expenditure. There was no evidence of a change in overall caseload take-up between 2008 to 2009 and 2009 to 2010.
In 2009 to 2010 there were 2.09 million recipients claiming £9.08 billion of IS/ESA (IR). The number of people that were entitled to but not claiming IS/ESA (IR) was between 260,000 and 620,000. The total amount of IS/ESA (IR) unclaimed was between £0.75 billion and £2.04 billion.
Take-up in 2009 to 2010 was between 62% and 68% by caseload and between 73% and 80% by expenditure. There was no conclusive evidence of a change in caseload take-up between 2008 to 2010 and 2009 to 2010.
In 2009 to 2010 there were 2.62 million pensioners claiming £7.64 billion of Pension Credit. The number of pensioners that were estimated to be entitled but not claiming Pension Credit was between 1.21 million and 1.58 million. The total amount of Pension Credit unclaimed was between £1.94 billion and £2.80 billion.
Housing Benefit (including Local Housing Allowance)
Take-up in 2009 to 2010 was in the range 78% to 84% by caseload and 84% to 90% by expenditure. There was no evidence of a change in overall caseload take-up between 2008 to 2009 and 2009 to 2010.
In 2009 to 2010 there were 4.07 million recipients claiming £16.60 billion of Housing Benefit. The number of people that were entitled to but not claiming Housing Benefit was between 0.75 million and 1.14 million. The total amount of Housing Benefit unclaimed was between £1.85 billion and £3.10 billion.
Council Tax Benefit
Take-up in 2009 to 2010 was between 62% to 69% by caseload and 64% to 71% by expenditure. There was no evidence of a change in take-up rates between 2008 to 2009 and 2009 to 2010.
In 2009 to 2010 there were 5.19 million recipients claiming £4.23 billion of Council Tax Benefit. The number of people estimated to be entitled yet not claiming Council Tax Benefit in 2009 to 2010 was between 2.34 million and 3.20 million. The total amount of Council Tax Benefit unclaimed was between £1.7 billion to £2.42 billion.
Take-up in 2009 to 2010 was between 60% and 67% by caseload and between 61% and 70% by expenditure. There was evidence of an increase in overall caseload take-up of at least 1% between 2008 to 2009 and 2009 to 2010, although we cannot be certain due to high levels of bias present in our modelling.
In 2009 to 2010 there were 910,000 recipients claiming £3.01 billion of JSA(IB). The number of people that were entitled to but not claiming JSA(IB) was between 440,000 and 610,000. The total amount of JSA(IB) unclaimed was between £1.28 billion and £1.95 billion.
Coverage: Great Britain
Experimental estimates of take-up of income-related benefits for Great Britain are provisionally due to be published in May or June 2015. These will cover:
- Income Support
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
The statistics have been developed using guidelines set out by the UK Statistics Authority, and while they undergo evaluation, they are labelled as experimental statistics.
In 2010 to 2011 the ‘Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up’ team contacted known users of the statistics to better understand who uses the publication and how we can continue to meet the needs of users.
A summary of the responses from this exercise has been published: Usage of ‘Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up’ publication
In 2003, DWP analysts started a ‘national statistics quality review of take-up of income-related benefit statistics’. The aim was to assess whether the statistics continue to serve users’ needs and to identify areas of development. The national statistics quality review full report, which contains the context, scope and conclusions of the review, was published on 26 October 2006.
Social research can play an important role in understanding take-up behaviour, and evaluating initiatives designed to promote take-up as well as improving the quality of statistics.
Accessing archived ‘Income-related Benefits: estimates of take-up’ statistics
Contacts and more information
There is contact information and more about DWP statistics on the Statistics at DWP page.
- 1 November 2012
- 18 June 2013
Assessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics: statistics on household resources
- 7 December 2011
- 12 July 2012
- Consultation outcome