The number of people on Disability Living Allowance in Northern Ireland is confirmed as 207,000.
The News Letter first reported the figure, which relates to August, last month.
A benefits statistics summary published by the Department of Social Development yesterday put the exact figure at 206,980, a rise of 7,100 since August 2014.
On October 19 we reported that the number of claimants in the Province had soared by 22,000 in five years and the annual cost had risen by £203 million since 2010.
This is despite the fact that Northern Ireland already had twice as many claimants as Great Britain, 10 per cent of the population compared to five per cent, when the latter was pushing ahead with PIPs, a more rigorously-tested replacement for DLA.
Even the Labour Party, founder of the welfare state, agreed that the GB figures was so high the test for DLA needed to be reconsidered.
Yet in Northern Ireland, our already sky high rate of DLA claimants has continued to rise relentlessly upwards and now stands at more than 11 per cent of the population.
In other findings for August released by DSD yesterday, the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants was 41,170, a fall of 9,040 since August 2014.
There were 39,160 claimants of Income Support. DSD said: “This represents a fall of 970 since August 2014, mainly as a result of claimants who were claiming on the grounds of incapacity moving to Employment and Support Allowance.”
There were 255,180 people of working age claiming a key benefit, a drop of 2,300 from 2015.