Social assistance 

Updated: 20.12.2016 - Next update: 20.12.2017

Recipients of income support

Income support is a form of social assistance granted as a last resort. This means that recipients of income support are at risk of social exclusion. As an indicator, receipt of income support is closely linked to unemployment. Indirectly it reveals that the primary forms of support are insufficient.

The trend in the number of recipients of income support was similar to the economic cycles that started in the early 1990s, but took place with a lag of a few years. In the 21st century, when the general unemployment rate stayed at a higher level than in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the gap became narrower. At the same time, the number of long-term recipients of income support increased. Consequently, income support expenditure grew in relation to the number of households receiving this form of assistance. The number of beneficiary households rose sharply as a result of the economic recession in 2009 and higher unemployment rates. In 2010, unemployment ceased to grow and the number of recipients of income support also stopped growing. In 2010–2012, the number of income support beneficiaries remained unchanged.

In 2012, rate increases were made to principal and last-resort financial assistance that are provided in the form of unemployment security, housing allowance and income support. The increases have not made a big difference to income support payments because of their aggregate impact.

In 2013 to 2015, the number of households receiving income support grew by 5.4 per cent and the number of persons by 4.8 per cent. In 2015, income support was received by 7.3 per cent of the population. The expenses of income support remained at almost the same level in 2015 as in 2014; at EUR 740.6 million. In 2015, the average euro amount of the income support received by households went down for the second year in a row, being 3.9 per cent lower in 2015 than in 2013.

National Institute for Health and Welfare

Description of indicator

The indicator shows social assistance recipients as a percentage of the entire population during a calendar year. Population data refers to the situation at the year-end. According to these statistics, all social assistance recipients in a household are calculated separately, which means that children are included in the figures.