From August 2017 DWP discontinued these datasets when they changed the way they publish their benefit statistics. The last period of data for these datasets is the November 2016 data published in May 2017.

Data in this section are supplied by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and provide a quarterly snapshot of benefit claimants at particular points in time.

The main source for these statistics is DWP's Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS). These data are based on 100% of claimants and cover information such as age and gender of claimant, duration of their spell on benefit and geographical locations of claimants. Data are also available from a 5% sample which should only be used if the required data are not available from the WPLS.

WPLS (100%) Data

Two categories of data are provided:

  • Client group data sets. In these, each claimant appears once only, even though some claim more than one benefit. Use these to get information about the total number of people claiming benefits and the combination of benefits claimed. For example, use the working-age client group data set for counts of the number of working-age people who are claiming one or more key DWP benefits - a figure often used as a proxy for worklessness.
  • Individual benefit data sets. Use these to get the number of people claiming a particular benefit. Unlike the client group data set, a person claiming multiple benefits will be counted separately in each applicable benefit data set. For example, use the income support data set to find out the total number of people claiming income support (irrespective of any other benefits being claimed).

For most client group and individual benefits, two data sets are provided:

  • Main data set (listed first) includes figures down to local authority and parliamentary constituency level. These provide a wide range of variables by which the data can be cross-tabulated.
  • Small area data set (tagged for small areas) has data only at super output area and CAS ward level. A limited number of pre-defined variables can be selected.

Figures are updated quarterly with time series generally back to 1999. More information about each data set and the options available is given in the information panel located at the bottom of pages during a query.

5% Sample Data

If you require more detailed breakdowns specific to one benefit (for example type of JSA in payment) you may need to rely on the 5% sample data. These consist of a parallel set of data which has more detail but less comprehensive coverage. You should always use the WPLS data first, and only access the 5% sample data if what you need is not available from the WPLS.

DWP recommends that, where the detail is only available on the 5% sample data, the proportions derived should be applied to the overall 100% (WPLS) total for the benefit. For more information on what is available in the 10% data sets and guidance on using the data download this Guide to Sourcespdf.

Although the data sets provide a large number of variables from which to select subsets of cases, in practice this is not recommended because cells are likely to contain values below 50 which are consequently suppressed. This is particularly likely when data are requested at local authority level.

Further information

For further information about DWP statistics and research (including information on Welfare to Work schemes):

tel:0191 2257373