Social assistance

Updated: 1 Feb 2019
Next update: 21 Aug 2019

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.


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 2014 to 2016, the number of households receiving income support grew by three per cent and the number of persons by 1.3 per cent. In 2016, income support was received by 7.2 per cent of the population.

The gross expenses of income support were EUR 734.5 million in 2016. In real terms, the expenses decreased by 1.2 per cent from the year before.