A report issued by the National Statistics Office (NSO) today detailed the Government’s Social Security spending in the first nine months of the year.
Such spending totalled €816.2 million during the first three quarters of 2020, 8.4 per cent higher than the corresponding period in 2019. Both Contributory and Non-Contributory benefits reported an increase, the former accounting for €59.3 million, or 93.9 per cent, of the total rise in social outlay.
Government spending towards Contributory Benefits amounted to €670.5 million, €14.5 million of which covered the COVID-19 social benefits. Total Contributory spending rose by 9.7 per cent from the previous year.
In addition to the COVID-19 social expenses, higher spending was reported under Pensions in respect of Retirement (€32.8 million), Widowhood (€4.8 million), Contributory Bonus (€4.7 million), Other Benefits (€2.1 million) and Pensions in respect of Invalidity (€0.6 million).
In contrast, lower expenditure was reported under Benefits in respect of Industrial Injuries and Gratuities (€0.1 million).
By the end of September 2020, Non-Contributory expenditure reached €145.6 million, a 2.7 per cent increase from 2019. Disability Pensions/Allowance registered the highest rise at €1.9 million, followed by Old Age Pension (€1.7 million), Total In-Work Benefit (€1.2 million), Child Allowance (€1.1 million), Supplementary Allowance (€0.4 million) and Non-Contributory Bonus (€0.2 million).
Conversely, spending towards Total Social Assistance and Medical Assistance declined by €2.6 million and €0.1 million, respectively.
Between July and September 2020, social benefits expenditure was €19.9 million higher than the same period in 2019 and totalled €260.8 million. Contributory spending rose by €17.5 million, largely the result of €11.7 million in additional spending towards Pensions in respect of Retirement. A €2.4 million increase was witnessed under Non-Contributory expenditure.
During the first three quarters of 2020, the largest number of Contributory beneficiaries was reported under the Two-Thirds Pension (52,595). In comparison to 2019, the Unemployment and Sickness benefits reported the biggest increase (2,896) and decrease (1,851) in recipients, respectively.
Another 8,813 individuals benefitted from the COVID-19 social benefits.
Children’s Allowance reported the highest share of Non-Contributory recipients, with 44,404 families in receipt of the benefit. The same benefit recorded the largest increase (2,790) in beneficiaries, while the highest drop in recipients was witnessed under Supplementary Allowance (713).
Similar developments were recorded during the third quarter of 2020, with the Two-Thirds Pension (50,353) and Children’s Allowance (40,994) reporting the largest number of Contributory and Non-Contributory beneficiaries respectively.