The expenditure on Social Security Benefits rose by 5.8 percent between January and March this year compared to the same period last year. Figures released by the National Statistics Office show a total spend of €243 million, the highest in the 18 years under review since 2003. The amount does not account for benefits related to Covid-19 measures, which started being disbursed in April.
There was a rise in both contributory benefits, such as retirement pensions and industrial injuries gratuities, and non-contributory benefits which include disability assistance and in-work allowances. The increase in contributory benefits was €12.2 million, or 6.7 percent over the previous year, while non-contributory benefits rose by an additional €48.7 million, or 2.3 percent.
The biggest share of contributory benefits are old-age pensions, making up three-fourths of the total expenditure. The largest spend in the category goes for pensions in the Two-Thirds system, which have also registered the steepest rise over a year as the number of beneficiaries grew by over 50,000.
Allowances for family and children account for nearly a third of non-contributory benefits, the largest portion in the category. The biggest rise was registered in children’s allowance schemes reflecting an increase in new beneficiaries of more than 40,000.