Social security benefits grow to €512m by end-June

(source: Unsplash/Micaela Parente)

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Social security benefits outlay was up by 3% (€15m) to €512m during the first six months of 2019, compared to 2018, according to the latest figures published by the National Statistics Office (NSO).

A €15.2m rise in contributory benefits spending was the catalyst for the increase, partially offset by a €0.2m drop in non-contributory expenditure.

In addition, contributory benefits outlay totalled €415.3m, reflecting a 3.8% increase from 2018. This was due to a €13.1m rise reported under pensions in respect of retirement, the result of a higher number of two-thirds pensioners, followed by growth in contributory bonus (€1.5m) and pensions in respect of widowhood (€1m).

On the contrary, the outlay was down in pensions in respect of invalidity (€0.3m) and other benefits (€0.1m). Furthermore, non-contributory spending amounted to €96.7m, which was 0.2% lower than during the same period in 2018.

The social assistance registered the biggest drop in the expenditure of €3.1m, while minor drops were reported in supplementary assistance (€0.3m) and child allowance (€0.1m). Nevertheless, increased outlay was reported under disability pension/allowance (€1.5m), old age pension (€1.3m), in-work benefit (€0.4m) and medical assistance (€0.1m).

Between April and June 2019, social security benefits outlay reached €282.3m, 82.6% of which was spent on contributory benefits.

It represented a €9.1m rise from the €273.2m recorded during the Q2 2018 and was the result of an €8.8m increase in the contributory pensions in respect of retirement.

Fewer beneficiaries

The national minimum pension of widows reported the largest drop in beneficiaries with 433 fewer people in the first half of the year as compared to the corresponding period of 2018. At the same time, a 1,489 drop in beneficiaries occurred, representing the largest among the twenty-three active non-contributory benefits.

The largest share of non-contributory recipients was registered under children’s allowance (40,549). At the same time, in-work benefit recipients exhibited the largest increase of 626, rising from 3,497 in 2018 to 4,123 a year later.

During Q2 2019, the two-thirds pension (49,278) and children’s allowance (39,705) reported the largest cohorts of contributory and non-contributory beneficiaries respectively.

The full report with charts and tables is available for download at the website of NSO.