Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys TD
Today, the Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys TD, has announced the publication of the Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services Annual Report 2019.
The figures in this report refer to expenditure, recipients and beneficiaries of various schemes administered by the Department of Social Protection.
Some scheme data has been further broken down by age, gender and county.
It also includes ten year trends on expenditure and the numbers of recipients and beneficiaries.
Some of the main findings of the report are:
- Over 1.3 million people were in receipt of a weekly Social Welfare payment, which was paid in respect of over 2 million beneficiaries
- There were 650,000 recipients of the State pension in 2019, with expenditure totalling €8.2 billion.
- Spending on Jobseeker’s Allowance and Jobseeker's Benefit amounted to €2 billion in 2019, a reduction of €2.1 billion (52%) since 2010.
- There was €4.5 billion paid on illness, disability and caring payments in 2019 with Carer’s Allowance and Disability Allowance accounting for €2.6 billion of this expenditure.
- Approx. €700 million was spent on allowances relating to fuel, electricity, gas, telephone support, the TV licence, and free travel.
Minister Humphreys commented on the report today saying while it relates to social welfare schemes in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic, they must also bear in mind the profound impact that the pandemic has had on the labour market this year and consequently the added pressure that it places on certain elements of the social welfare budget.
“The report charts the changes in Social Welfare payment and recipients over the previous ten years, and highlights how the recovery of the economy is reflected in the decrease of numbers in receipt of Working Age Income and support payments in particular.
“This recovery has enabled the Department to continue to invest in Social Protection services and maintain its level of expenditure over the past decade.
“The Labour Force Survey published by the CSO this week paints a stark picture in terms of the impact that Covid-19 has had on the Irish labour market and the challenge for Government now will be ensuring that we put the right policy supports in place to help people get back to work.”
Referring to the increasing demand on pensions, the Minister said the report shows that the percentage of the Social Welfare budget spent on pensions increased from 28% in 2010 to 40% in 2019.
“The public policy and social issues in relation to funding a sustainable and adequate State pension system are complex.
"That is why this Government will establish a Commission on Pensions that will report by June 2021. The Government will take action having regard to the recommendations of the Commission within six months,” she said.
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