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Increased social investment despite continued drop in dependency on benefits.

Despite the further decline in welfare dependency, the allocation on social benefits during 2023 reached a record level of €1.3 billion, an increase of 8%. Data issued by the National Statistics Office show that, in fact, only 3,974 were on social assistance, or 5% less than those who needed this help a year earlier.

Compared to a year earlier, in the last quarter of 2023 there was a decrease of 139 people on social assistance. This means that, over two years, there has been a fall of almost 340. This decline stands in stark contrast to what happened in the post-2008 economic crisis, when there was an increase of almost 900 people on social assistance. In 2013, there was more than double the number present on this assistance.

The number of single parents on social assistance has also continued to decrease, ending in 2023 almost 10% lower than in 2021. In the last quarter of 2023, there was also a decrease in reliance on the supplementary allowance, with the number of beneficiaries dropping by almost 530 compared to a year earlier and by 1,100 compared to 2021.

Thanks to consecutive Budget measures, the amount directed towards carers has also increased, rising to over €4 million. Meanwhile, the allocation for those with disabilities has risen to around €12 million, an increase of €5 million over two years. The same happened with regard to the children’s allowance, where the allocation rose to almost €16 million, or almost €5 million better. It is worth recalling that, in the post-2008 economic crisis, the administration of the time reduced this assistance to households by more than €2 million.

Unlike what happened in the past, pensioners have also benefitted greatly. In fact, the allocation to widows/widowers rose for the first time, to over €40 million. This means an increase of €5 million over two years. As regards pensioners, total benefits also reached a record figure, that of more than €175 million. This means a growth of €20 million compared to two years earlier. It should be noted that the allocation for pensioners on the minimum pension has increased by 50% over two years.

More than 92,000 people received almost €15 million because of the additional cost of living benefit mechanism. This was the result of the first instalment made in December, with the second instalment scheduled for next month.

Photo: Andrea Piacquadio

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