Government spent €998 million on social security benefits in 2019

Government spending on social security benefits in 2019 was 3.4% higher than the previous year

File photo
File photo

The government spent €997.9 million on social security benefits in 2019 according to figures released by the National Statistics Office.

This is approximately €33 million over the previous year’s spending, or an increase of 3.4%.

According to the NSO, the biggest increase in spending was in contributory pensions, having increased by €30 million for a total of €700 million.

In 2019, the two-thirds pension represented the largest cohort of recipients, standing at 51,258. This was in stark contrast to the national minimum widows’ pension that reported the largest drop in recipients, with 707 less persons receiving the benefit.

Reacting to the figures, the Family Ministry said that spending on non-contributory benefits was lower than in the previous year since there was less spending on social assistance and supplementary aid of €5.6 million as a result of less unemployment benefits being paid out.

Family Minister Michael Falzon said that since more and more people were getting employed, less and less people were continuing to depend on social assistance.

The spending on in-work benefits increased to a total of €4.5 million in 2019 and 5,135 families were directly affected by this benefit —approximately €862 per year were paid to each family.

“Despite the difficult times we are going through, the government will remain committed to see through the successes of these last seven years; after we get through this difficult period, we will continue to build on the successes in the social sector,” Falzon said.