News Releases

Government Expenditure on Social Security Benefits: January-March 2024
NR 082/2024
Release Date: 7 May 2024
  • Contributory Benefits outlay totalled €397.8 million by the end of March 2024, 10.6 per cent higher than 2023.
  • The number of Two-Thirds pensioners increased by 2,207 from the corresponding period in 2023.
  • Non-Contributory expenditure amounted to €80.5 million, an 11.6 per cent increase from 2023.
  • The largest cohort of Contributory beneficiaries was registered under the Two-Thirds Pension (58,541).
  • During the first quarter of 2024, 42,510 families obtained Children’s Allowance while 41,053 persons were in receipt of the Assistance to Help the Elderly Live Independently.
Government Expenditure on Social Security Benefits: January-March 2024
NR 082/2024
Release Date: 7 May 2024
Between January and March 2024, Government outlay towards Social Security Benefits rose by €38.2 million in comparison to 2023.


Social Security Benefits Expenditure

During the first quarter of 2024, spending on Social Security Benefits totalled €397.8 million, 10.6 per cent higher than the €359.6 million recorded at the end of March 2023. Higher expenditure was reported for both Contributory (€29.9 million) and Non-Contributory Benefits (€8.4 million) (Table 1).

Government spending towards Contributory Benefits amounted to €317.3 million, a 10.4 per cent rise from 2023. Pensions in respect of Retirement recorded the largest increase of €19.9 million, as the number of Two-Thirds pensioners rose by 2,207 individuals. Further increases were registered under Contributory Bonus (€6.9 million), Pensions in respect of Widowhood (€2.9 million) and Other Benefits (€0.2 million) (Table 2).

By the end of March 2024, Non-Contributory spending amounted to €80.5 million, an 11.6 per cent increase in comparison to the previous year. At €4.1 million, the highest rise was reported under Child Allowance, ahead of Assistance to Help the Elderly Live Independently (€1.8 million) and Carers Allowances/Grants (€0.8 million) (Table 3).

Social Security Beneficiaries

During the first three months of 2024, Two-Thirds pensioners totalled 58,541 that was 2,207 more beneficiaries than the corresponding period in 2023. This was the highest increase exhibited among recipients of Contributory Benefits, while, conversely, the biggest drop was registered under Early Survivors’ Pension (229) (Table 2).

The highest number of Non-Contributory beneficiaries was reported under Children’s Allowance (42,510). Furthermore, there were 41,053 persons aged 75 or over in receipt of the Assistance to Help the Elderly Live Independently. Families in receipt of Children’s Allowance Supplement numbered 774 more than the previous year, the largest rise among Non-Contributory Benefits. In contrast, the biggest decline in recipients was witnessed under In-Work Benefit (1,066) (Table 3).

Chart 1. Social Security Benefits Expenditure

January-March in € million

No Data Found

Chart 2. Social Security Benefits Expenditure by ESSPROS1 functions

Contributory Benefits

January-March 2024

Non-Contributory Benefits

January-March 2024

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 charts 2 and 3 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:
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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