News Releases

Government Expenditure on Social Security Benefits: January-December 2023
Release Date: 8 April 2024
Last updated: 9 April 2024

Be advised that the second salient point has been amended from The 1,728 additional Two-Thirds pensioners was the principal catalyst for the reported rise in Contributory Benefits. Online document was updated on 9 April  2024 at 08:30hrs

  • Contributory Benefits outlay totalled €1,038.7 million by the end of December 2023, 7.5 per cent higher than in 2022.
  • The number of  Two-Thirds pensioners increased by 1,728 in 2023.
  • Non-Contributory expenditure amounted to €269.5 million, an 11.1 per cent increase from 2022.
  • The largest cohort of Contributory beneficiaries was registered under the Two-Thirds Pension (59,660).
  • A total of 95,579 families obtained the Additional COLA Household Mechanism by the end of December 2023.
Government Expenditure on Social Security Benefits: January-December 2023
Release Date: 8 April 2024
Last updated: 9 April 2024
During 2023, Government outlay towards Social Security Benefits rose by €99.7 million in comparison to 2022.


Social Security Benefits Expenditure

Between January and December 2023, spending on Social Security Benefits totalled €1,308.2 million, an 8.3 per cent rise from the previous year. Higher expenditure was reported for both Contributory (€72.7 million) and Non-Contributory Benefits (€27.0 million) (Table 1).

Government spending towards Contributory Benefits amounted to €1,038.7 million, a 7.5 per cent rise from 2022. Pensions in respect of Retirement recorded the largest increase of €44.5 million, resulting partly from an additional 1,728 persons in receipt of the Two-Thirds Pension. Further increases were registered under Contributory Bonus (€16.3 million) and Pensions in respect of Widowhood (€12.1 million) (Table 2).

By the end of December 2023, €269.5 million went towards Non-Contributory Benefits, an 11.1 per cent increase in comparison to the previous year. All benefit categories registered increases, with the main ones recorded under Child Allowance (€7.3 million), Total Supplementary Allowance (€6.1 million) and Total Social Assistance (€3.7 million) (Table 3).

In comparison to 2022, an additional €20.8 million was spent on social security benefits between October and December 2023, amounting to €327.7 million. Contributory expenditure rose by €18.6 million, with the largest increase registered under Pensions in respect of Retirement (€12.4 million) (Table 4). Furthermore, spending towards Non-Contributory Benefits increased by €2.3 million, with the largest growth recorded under Child Allowance (€3.7 million) (Table 5). 

Social Security Beneficiaries

During 2023, the largest number of Contributory beneficiaries was recorded under the Two-Thirds Pension (59,660). The same benefit reported the highest increase among recipients, with 1,728 additional pensioners when compared to 2022. On the other hand, the biggest drop in recipients was registered under Sickness Benefit (5,693) (Table 2).

The Additional COLA Household Mechanism reported the highest number of Non-Contributory recipients, with 95,579 beneficiaries by the end of 2023. The same benefit also recorded the largest increase in recipients at 54,801, while the largest decline in recipients was witnessed under Supplementary Allowance (521) (Table 3).

In the final quarter of 2023, the Two-Thirds Pension (57,710) and Additional COLA Household Mechanism (92,109) were the most received Contributory and Non-Contributory Benefits, respectively (Tables 4 and 5).


Chart 1. Social Security Benefits Expenditure

January-December in € million

No Data Found

Chart 2. Social Security Benefits Expenditure by ESSPROS1 functions

Contributory Benefits

January-December 2023

Non-Contributory Benefits

January-December 2023

1 Refer to methodological note 5.

Additional Tables and Charts

Methodological Notes

1. Expenditure data provided in this news release is extracted from the administrative records of the Social Security Department, and is based on the Government’s Consolidated Fund.
2. Beneficiaries data is obtained from the Department of Social Security’s Unique Beneficiaries Report.
3. In 2022, a complete revamp of the In-Work Benefit (IWB) was carried out by the Income Support and Compliance Division, with  now payments being made to all eligible parents irrespective of application status. Payments are made in arrears, hence the reporting period for reference year N is being covered by payments made between April of year N to March of year N+1. Due to the differences in reporting methods between the data sources listed in Notes 1 and 2, and to maintain consistency in line with the restructuring performed, from 2023 the Unique Beneficiaries Report has been used to extract both the expenditure and beneficiaries data for the IWB.
4. For every benefit, the corresponding beneficiaries reflect any person who has received the benefit at least once during the reference period. The number of beneficiaries may not be aggregated since persons obtaining two or more different benefits during the same period are listed once under each benefit. Furthermore, it should also be noted that the annual number of beneficiaries is not equal to the sum of the quarters since beneficiaries obtaining the same benefit in more than one quarter are only counted once.
5. The functions provided in Chart 2 are in line with the European System of Integrated Social Protection Statistics (ESSPROS) Manual 2022 Edition (ISBN 978-92-76-58596-1). This methodology is mandatory for all EU Member States. A detailed breakdown of the benefits classified under each function is provided in the Social Security Benefits Glossary, which can be accessed from the ‘Sources and Methods’ link listed in note 8.
6. Expenditure data is not normally subject to revision, while beneficiaries data may be revised. As of 2023, latest figures for the IWB are to be taken as provisional and subject to revision.
7. Figures may not add up exactly due to rounding.
8. More information relating to this news release may be accessed at:
9. A detailed news release calendar is available online.

10. References to this news release are to be cited appropriately. For guidance on access and re-use of data please visit our dedicated webpage.

11. For further assistance send your request through our online request form.

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