Social security benefits statistics portray the government expenditure on contributory and non-contributory social security benefits. The contributory benefits scheme is where an employee, self-occupied or self-employed person pays a weekly contribution as laid down in the Social Security Act, through a ‘pay-as-you-earn’ system. The non-contributory system is not based on contributions, but on a financial means-test of the person claiming the benefit.
Contributory benefits include pensions in respect of retirement, pensions in respect of invalidity, pensions in respect of widowhood, benefits in respect of industrial injuries and gratuities, other benefits, and bonus.
Non-contributory benefits include child allowance, old age pension, disability pension/allowance, total social assistance, medical assistance, supplementary allowance, in-work benefit, child supplementary benefit and bonus.
Expenditure data is extracted from the administrative records of the Social Security Department, and is based on the Government’s Consolidated Fund. Beneficiaries’ data is obtained from the Department of Social Security Unique Beneficiaries Report.
Data is collected on a quarterly basis and is compiled in accordance with the ESSPROS manual. Data is calculated separately for each scheme and missing or incomplete figures are estimated.
Accuracy and reliability of data
Quality of data is assured by adherence to the ESSPROS manual. ESSPROS data is compiled in line with the corresponding budget reforms announced for the reference year in question.
The social security benefits data from the administrative database of the Social Security Department is checked with the government’s departmental accounting system (DAS).
There are also cases in contributory social security benefits and non-contributory social security benefits where only a single total value is available whilst the necessary breakdown is missing. In order to obtain such a breakdown the total is apportioned through the use of pre-established ratios used in previous years.
Timeliness and punctuality of data
The National Statistics Office (NSO) publishes four news releases per year on government expenditure on social security benefits. These include data with reference to periods January-March, January-June, January-September and January-December of a particular year. Such news releases are published within 3 months after the end of the reference period as scheduled in the Advance Release Calendar and are available on the NSO’s website.
Accessibility and clarity of data
Since the first edition published in 2008, social security benefits expenditure and beneficiaries have been included as part of the annual publication “Social Protection: Malta and the EU”. This publication is published within one year after the reference year, and is available on the NSO’s website.
Furthermore, a publication entitled ‘Social Security Benefits: A Locality Perspective’ is published every 4 years by the NSO and are available on the NSO’s website. The first one was issued in 2009 and covered reference period 2000-2008 while another publication was issued in 2013 and covered reference period 2014-2012.
Data government expenditure of social security benefits is available also on the NSO’s statistical database (StatDB).
Coherence and comparability/consistency of data
Data on government expenditure of social security benefits is fully consistent with the European System of integrated Social PROtection Statistics (ESSPROS) data.
Geographical comparability is only possible at a national level, as other European Union member states have different contributory and non-contributory social security benefits.
Data is comparable from 1995 onwards. Prior to year 2008 the unit of measure was the Maltese Lira (Lm) and the conversion rate to euro used was the fixed rate of 0.4293.