Annual estimates for the UK are presented in the table below (in nominal terms):
(a) The average annual payment to the top one per cent of benefit claimants
(b) The average annual payment to the top five per cent of benefit claimants
(c) The average annual payment to the top ten per cent of benefit claimants
These figures have been estimated using data collected by the DWP’s Family Resources Survey (FRS). The FRS is a continuous household survey which collects information on the income and circumstances of a representative sample of 20,000 private households in the United Kingdom each year. 2016/17 is the latest year for which FRS data is currently available.
Estimates have been adjusted for non-response using grossing factors that control for tenure type, Council Tax Band and a number of demographic variables. However, as with all surveys, FRS estimates are subject to sampling error and remaining non-sampling bias.
Compared to administrative records, the FRS is known to under-report benefit receipt.
This analysis considers total income from benefits and tax credits for a benefit unit, rather than at an individual level. This is because entitlement to many forms of state support is assessed at a benefit unit level. A benefit unit is defined as a single adult or a married or cohabiting couple, as well as any dependent children. An adult is defined as those individuals aged 16 or over, unless defined as a dependent child. An individual may be defined as a child if aged 16-19 years old, and not married nor in a Civil Partnership nor living with a partner; and living with parents; and in full-time non-advanced education or in unwaged government training.
Analysis includes all income from DWP and HMRC benefits and tax credits, plus council tax benefit. This includes statutory sick pay, statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay and statutory adoption pay. Estimates are gross of High Income Child Benefit charge.
Figures are rounded to the nearest £1,000 and have not been adjusted for inflation. The median rather than the mean average has been used, as the distributions requested are non-normal.