Increase in social security outlay not caused by COVID-19 measures

The expenditure on Social Security Benefits rose by €13.2 million over the same period in 2019 -NSO

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Social Security Benefits spending amounted to €243.0 million between January and March of this year, reflecting a 5.8% rise from the first quarter of 2019. This was published by the National Statistics Office, NSO, on Wednesday.

NSO explained that the rise in social outlay was not in relation to the newly introduced COVID-19 benefits, as these payments started in April.

According to the data, both contributory and non-contributory benefits reported an increase in expenditure, the contributory accounting for €12.2 million, that is 91.9% of the total rise in social expenditure.

The data shows that the contributory benefits outlay totalled €194.3 million, 6.7% higher than in 2019.

A €9.2 million rise reported under pensions in respect of retirement, in turn, the result of a higher number of two-thirds pensioners, proved to be the main catalyst for the increase. Further increases were registered in contributory bonus, pensions in respect of widowhood and other benefits.

The data also shows that by the end of March 2020, total non-contributory spending reached €48.7 million, a 2.3% increase over 2019. Increases were reported under;

  • old-age pension (€0.9 million)
  • disability pensions/allowance (€0.8 million
  • in-work benefit (€0.3 million)
  • supplementary allowance and non-contributory bonus (€0.1 million)

In contrast, spending towards total social assistance and child allowance fell by €1.1 million and €0.1 million respectively.

Social Security Beneficiaries

Between January and March 2020, the largest number of contributory beneficiaries was found under the two-thirds pension, 50,233.

On the other hand, the biggest drop in beneficiaries was recorded under the retirement pension, amounting to 709 less than in the first quarter of 2019.

The largest share of non-contributory recipients was registered under children’s allowance,

followed by supplementary allowance. These two benefits reported the biggest positive and negative changes in recipients from 2019, with 1,246 more persons obtaining children’s allowance, while supplementary allowance beneficiaries dropped by 518.