Social assistance

Updated: 18 Jun 2020
Next update: 18 Jun 2021

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

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 income support customers increased. Consequently, income support expenditure grew in relation to the number of households receiving income support.

The number of income support customers rose sharply as a result of the economic recession in 2009 and higher unemployment rates. The growth in unemployment stopped and the number of people receiving income support decreased starting from 2010. In 2013, the number of income support receivers started increasing again. Since 2014, slightly over seven per cent of the population has received income support.

In 2015 and 2016, the number of households receiving income support was around 260,000. In 2017, the processing of applications for basic income support, as well as granting and paying of basic income support was transferred from municipalities to the Social Insurance Institution. One aim of the transfer to the Social Insurance Institution was to reduce the so-called underutilisation of basic income support. Therefore, it was predictable that, e.g. the number of income support customers would grow. In 2017 and 2018, the number of households receiving income support rose to over 300,000 households. During 2017, income support was received by 305,158 households and during 2018, by 306,322 households.

In 2017 and 2018, altogether 8.5 per cent of the population received income support. The total expenditure of income support was around EUR 811 million in 2018. Compared with 2017, the expenditure decreased in real terms by around two per cent.