Levels of benefits paid to households – FOI request

Official figures for the level of benefits received by households have been revealed as a result of a freedom of information request.

A table published by the Department for Work and Pensions shows the average amount of benefits and/or tax credits paid between April 2011 and March 2012, in bands of £1,000. The payments relate to 'benefit units' – defined as a single adult, or a married or cohabiting couple and any dependent children. The figures include income from the full range of benefits, for all ages, including working-age benefits (income related and otherwise), disability benefits, retirement pension and child benefit, as well as tax credits.

Key points

  • Out of a total of 20.4 million 'benefit units' receiving benefits or tax credits of some kind, around 5.5 million (27 per cent) received an annual total of less than £3,000.
  • 15.5 million (76 per cent) received less than £12,000 a year.
  • After allowing for rounding, between around 100,000 and 300,000 benefit units (0.5-1.5 per cent) received more than £25,000 a year – which approximates to the coalition government's household benefit cap (for couples and lone parents) of £26,000.
  • Around 800,000 benefit units (just under 4 per cent) received £20,000 or more – the lower benefit cap level recently proposed by the Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs.

Source: Statistical FOI release 22 November 2013, Department for Work and Pensions
LinksFOI release | Daily Mail report

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