News Releases

Government Expenditure on Social Security Benefits: January-March 2023
Release Date: 04 May 2023
  • Between January and March 2023, spending on Social Security Benefits totalled €359.2 million, 7.5 per cent higher than the previous year.
  • Contributory Benefits outlay totalled €287.4 million by the end of March 2023, a 5.9 per cent increase from 2022.
  • Non-Contributory expenditure amounted to €71.8 million, 14.7 per cent higher than 2022.
  • The principal catalyst for the reported increase in Contributory Benefits were an additional 735 Two-Thirds pensioners. In fact, the largest cohort of Contributory beneficiaries was reported under the Two-Thirds Pension (56,332).
  • A total of 41,760 families received Children’s Allowance during the first quarter of 2023.
Government Expenditure on Social Security Benefits: January-March 2023
Release Date: 04 May 2023
During the first quarter of 2023, Government outlay towards Social Security Benefits rose by €25.1 million in comparison to 2022.


Social Security Benefits Expenditure 

Between January and March 2023, spending on Social Security Benefits totalled €359.2 million, 7.5 per cent higher than the previous year. Higher expenditure was reported for both Contributory (€15.9 million) and Non-Contributory Benefits (€9.2 million) (Table 1).

Government spending towards Contributory Benefits amounted to €287.4 million, a 5.9 per cent rise from 2022. Pensions in respect of Retirement recorded the largest increase of €8.8 million, a result of 735 more persons in receipt of the Two-Thirds Pension. Further increases were registered under Contributory Bonus (€4.3 million) and Pensions in respect of Widowhood (€2.8 million). The rise in outlay was marginally offset by a €0.1 million drop witnessed under Pensions in respect of Invalidity (Table 2).

By the end of March 2023, €71.8 million went towards Non-Contributory Benefits, a 14.7 per cent increase in comparison to the previous year. Increases were recorded under all benefit categories, which consisted of Total In-Work Benefit (€2.3 million), Total Social Assistance (€1.6 million), Child Allowance (€1.3 million), Total Supplementary Allowance (€1.2 million), Disability Pensions/Allowance (€1.0 million), Assistance to help the Elderly Live Independently (€0.9 million), Non-Contributory Bonus (€0.3 million), Age Pension (€0.3 million), Medical Assistance (€0.2 million) and Carers Allowances/Grants (€0.1 million) (Table 3).

Social Security Beneficiaries

During the first quarter of 2023, the largest number of Contributory beneficiaries was recorded under the Two-Thirds Pension (56,332). Survivors Pension reported the highest increase among recipients, with 988 additional beneficiaries when compared to 2022. On the other hand, the biggest drop in recipients was registered under Retirement Pension (984) (Table 2).

Children’s Allowance reported the highest number of Non-Contributory recipients, with 41,760 families in receipt of the benefit. In-Work Benefit recorded the largest increase in beneficiaries at 16,285,1 while the largest decline in recipients was witnessed under Sickness Assistance (348) (Table 3).

1 Refer to methodological note 3.

Chart 1. Social Security Benefits Expenditure

January-March in euro

No Data Found

Chart 2. Social Security Benefits Expenditure by ESSPROS functions

Contributory Benefits (%)

January-March 2023

No Data Found

Non-Contributory Benefits (%)

January-March 2023

No Data Found

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 charts 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 which benefits are classified under each function is provided in the Social Security Benefits Glossary that can be accessed from the ‘Sources and Methods’ link listed in note 7.
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:
8. References to this news release are to be cited appropriately.
9. A detailed news release calendar is available online.
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