The government’s outlay towards social security benefits rose by €9.7 million in the first quarter of the year, according to figures released by the National Statistics Office.

The NSO said that between January and March, spending on social security benefits totalled €252.7 million, 4% more than in the previous year.

The increase was largely due to an €11.1 million rise in contributory expenditure. This was partially offset by a €1.5 million drop in non-contributory outlay. 

Government spending towards contributory benefits amounted to €205.4 million, 5.7% more than in 2020. Retirement pensions recorded the largest increase - €9.3 million, primarily the result of a 1,581 increase in the number of two-thirds pensioners.

By the end of the first quarter, €47.3 million went towards non-contributory benefits, a 3% drop in comparison to 2020.

The largest decrease was reported under old age pension (€1.7 million). Conversely, spending towards child allowance and supplementary allowance rose by €1.3 million and €0.7 million, respectively.

Social Security Beneficiaries 

In the first quarter of 2021, the largest number of contributory beneficiaries was reported under the two-thirds Pension (51,804).

The biggest drop in recipients was witnessed under the sickness benefit (1,289). 

Children’s allowance reported the highest share of non-contributory recipients, with 41,329 families in receipt of the benefit. The same benefit recorded the largest increase (999) in beneficiaries, while the highest drop in recipients was witnessed under supplementary allowance (612).

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