The National Statistics Office has released figures which show that Government Spending on social security benefits spending amounted to €243 million between January and March 2020, reflecting a 5.8% from the first quarter of 2019.
The NSO specified that the rise in social outlay was not in relation to the newly introduced COVID-19 benefits, as these payments started in April.
Contributory Benefits outlay totalled €194.3 million, 6.7% higher than in 2019. A €9.2 million rise reported under Pensions in respect of Retirement, in turn the result of a higher number of Two-Thirds pensioners, proved to be the main catalyst for the increased outlay.
Further increases were registered in Contributory Bonus, Pensions in respect of Widowhood (both €1.6 million) and Other Benefits (€0.1 million). A €0.3 million drop in Pensions in respect of Invalidity marginally offset the abovementioned rise in Contributory outlay.
By the end of March 2020, total Non-Contributory spending reached €48.7 million, a 2.3% increase over 2019. Increases were reported under Old Age Pension (€0.9 million), Disability Pensions/ Allowance (€0.8 million), In-Work Benefit (€0.3 million), Supplementary Allowance and Non-Contributory Bonus (both €0.1 million). In contrast, spending towards Total Social Assistance and Child Allowance fell by €1.1 million and €0.1 million respectively.