The data collected refers to the expenditure of Social Protection benefits provided by public (including public social insurance funds) and private (NGO and employers) institutional units. The bodies most frequently intervening are:

social security funds
central, state and local government agencies/funds
NGO and employers.

The administration costs of these institutions are not collected.

Administration costs: related to the management and administration of the provision of social benefits.

Data sources: ESSPROS, National Accounts, State budgets.

For the countries which already collect data according to ESSPROS (European System of Integrated social protection statistics) all the data for the individual variables are available in the ESSPROS database. For the countries which don’t apply ESSPROS, the data can be collected from the following sources:

National accounts – heading D62 (social cash transfers), D621 (Social security benefits in cash – the contributory schemes), D622 (other social insurance benefits – these should not be included according the conventional definition on social protection mentioned below), D623 (Social assistance benefits in cash – non-contributory schemes), D63 (social benefits in kind). To get data on NGO and employers it is necessary to have accounts by institutional sector.
State budgets – budgets of the social security insurance funds (contributory schemes) and of the social assistance funds (non-contributory schemes). The state budgets are normally available in the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Economy and or Ministry of Finance.

Social Protection: (conventional Eurostat definition):SP encompasses all interventions from public and private bodies intended to relieve households and individuals of the burden of a defined set of functions or needs. The list of the functions/functions or needs that may give rise to social protection is fixed by convention as follow:

  1. Sickness/Health care
  2. Disability
  3. Old age
  4. Survivors
  5. Family/children
  6. Unemployment
  7. Housing
  8. Social exclusion.
  9. Other

Note for the countries which use ESSPROS data the function other is included in social exclusion.

Interventions: is understood in its broadest sense to cover the actual provision of benefits through:

Cash payment to protected people
Reimbursement of expenditure made by protected people
Goods and services directly provided to protected people.

Social benefits: Consists of transfers, in cash or in kind, by public or private social protection bodies to resident and non-resident households and individuals to relieve them of the burden of a defined set of functions or needs (see above conventional list or functions). Social benefits refer exclusively to cash payments, reimbursements and directly provided goods and services. These are all direct benefits in the sense that they are advantages that imply an equivalent rise in the (adjusted) disposable income of the beneficiaries. Social benefits may be passive, that is, trying to make up for a loss suffered through the materialization of a social function or need; or active, that is trying to avoid or find a remedy for a particular social function or need.

Social cash benefit: is a benefit that is

paid in cash at regular intervals (periodic cash) such as each week, month or quarter (for instance all types of pensions and family allowances) or
paid on a single occasion or
paid in the form of a lump-sum (examples are maternity benefits, redundancy lump-sums and very small pensions that, for convenience, are paid as a single amount).
that does not require evidence of actual expenditure by the recipients.

Benefits that require evidence of actual expenditure by the beneficiaries are reimbursements that are classified as Benefits in kind.

Social benefits in kind: are benefits granted in the form of goods and services. They may be provided by way of reimbursement or directly. Reimbursements are benefits in the form of payments that reimburse the recipient in whole or in part for certified expenditure on specified goods and services. Directly provided benefits are goods and services granted without any pre-financing by the beneficiary. They may be produced by the institutional unit (public bodies) or units which administer the provision of social protection benefits, or be purchased from other producers. This distinction is important for the valuation of the benefit in kind. The benefits in kind are valued at:

The benefits in kind are valued at:

the actual price if the public institutional unit buys goods and services for provision to its beneficiaries from market producers units
the cost of production if the public institution unit produce itself the goods and services

Means-tested benefits: Are social benefits which are explicitly or implicitly conditional on the beneficiary's income and/or wealth falling below a specified level.

This specified level is not necessarily This specified level is not necessarily uniquely defined at the national level; it may change from scheme to scheme and may even differ between geographical levels. Usually, the specified level takes

account of the beneficiary's family composition. Although most means-tested benefits are targeted at low income households, some may be directed at wider sections of the population.

Contributory schemes (social security insurance funds): are social protection schemes that require the payment of contributions, by the protected persons or by other parties on their behalf (as employers), in order to secure individual entitlement to benefits. Contributory schemes are in general referred to as social insurance scheme (for instance Pension insurance, Health insurance etc.) Generally the contributory schemes are general schemes which apply to the totality or the preponderance of the economically active population.

Non-Contributory schemes(social assistance schemes):Are social protection schemes in which eligibility to benefits is not conditional on the payment of contributions by the protected persons or by other parties on their behalf.

Generally, the non-contributory schemes are universal schemes which apply to the whole population, implying that all residents or nationals, irrespective of their socio-professional status, are eligible to receive social benefits upon materialization of specific functions or needs.

Many non-contributory schemes give benefits only after a means-test. Non-contributory schemes which do not require a means-test include national health services and family allowance schemes instituted in several Countries.

Total Social Protection Expenditures as % of GDP: Disaggregated by characteristic (which are means-tested) by type of scheme (contributory and non-contributory), by type of benefit (cash and kind). See the general conventional definition of Social Protection, means-tested, contributory and non-contributory, cash and kind.

Social Protection Benefits by their functions

Sickness/ health care covers
cash benefits that replace in whole or in part loss of earnings during temporary inability to work due to sickness or injury (paid sick leave)
medical care provided in the framework of social protection to maintain, restore or improve the health of the people protected.2

The paid sick benefits may be paid by autonomous social protection schemes (insurance scheme as health insurance institution), but they may also be provided by the employer in the form of continued payment of wages and salaries during the period of sickness. The last one (employer) should not be collected (out of the scope of this exercise – see conventional definition of Social Protection).

For reasons of convenience, paid leave in case of sickness or injury of a dependent family member (in most case a child) is also reported under this heading if provided by public institutional unit (as health insurance institution).

Disability benefits:

provide an income to persons below standard retirement age as established in the reference scheme whose ability to work and earn is impaired beyond a minimum level laid down by legislation by a physical or mental disability; (disability pensions, economic integrations, care allowances, other cash benefits related to the disability of the protected persons).
provide goods and services other than medical care to disabled people (accommodation in appropriate establishment, assistance in carrying out daily tasks as home help, professional rehabilitation, other benefits in kind - miscellaneous services and goods provided to disabled people to enable them to participate in leisure and cultural activities, or to travel and/or to participate in community life, including reduced prices, tariffs, fares, and so on granted to disabled people expressly for social protection reasons).

Disability is the full or partial inability to engage in economic activity or to lead a normal life due to a physical or mental impairment that is likely to be either permanent or to persist beyond a minimum prescribed period.

Where a disabled child is entitled to a cash disability benefit in his or her own right, irrespective of dependency, the corresponding benefit should be considered as related to the Disability function. All medical care specific to disability, reported under the Sickness/health care function.

Family allowances paid to recipients of disability benefits, which are reported under the Family/children function.

Old age benefits:

provide a replacement income when the aged person retires from the labour market (all type of old age pensions - including anticipated, partial pensions – normally provided by contributory schemes – insurance pension schemes-);
guarantee a certain income when a person has reached a prescribed age (social pensions provided normally by non-contributory schemes);
provide frequent or constant assistance to help old people to meet the extra costs of attendance (Care allowances)
provide goods or services specifically required by the personal or social circumstances of the elderly (Accommodation - old people's homes, nursing homes - assistance in carrying out daily tasks as home help, other benefits in kind - miscellaneous goods and services for retired people to enable them to take part in leisure and cultural activities, to travel and/or participate in community life. These include reductions in prices, tariffs and fares for old age pensioners where they are expressly granted for social protection).

Medical care specific to old age, which is reported under the Sickness/health care function; Family allowances for dependent children where the beneficiary is also in receipt of an old age benefit; this is reported under the Family/children function.

Survivors:

The survivors' function includes benefits that:

provide a temporary or permanent income to who have suffered from the loss of the spouse or a next-of-kin, usually when the latter represented the main breadwinner for the beneficiary (survivors pension, orphans pension, death grant etc);
compensate survivors for funeral costs for any hardship caused by the death of a family member;
provide goods and services to eligible survivors (miscellaneous goods and services provided to survivors to enable them to take part in community life; these include reductions in prices, tariffs, fares and so on for widows, widowers, and orphans if expressly granted for social protection.

Survivors eligible for benefit may be the spouse or ex-spouse of the deceased person, his or her children, grandchildren, parents or other relatives. In some cases, the benefit may also be paid to someone outside the family.

Family allowances for dependent children where the beneficiary is receiving a survivor's benefit; these are reported under the family/children function.

Medical care specific to survivors, which is reported under the Sickness/health care function.

Family/ children:

The Family/children function includes benefits that

provide financial support related to the maternity and born of a children or adoption (maternity leave – wage compensation – birth grant)
provide financial support to households for bringing up children (family children allowances, parental leave);
provide social goods and services specifically designed to assist and protect the family, particularly children (child day care, accommodation –public institutional care- home help, other benefits in kind - miscellaneous goods and services provided to families, young people or children (holiday and leisure centres), including reductions in prices, tariffs, fares and so on for children or large families, where expressly granted for social protection. This category also includes family planning services-).

Free or subsidised school meals, books and assisted holidays should be considered as part of the social protection system and included as family/children function where benefits are provided solely to indigent families, after a means-test. It can be argued that the object of the measure is to redistribute income in favour of those who have insufficient resources rather than to provide free access to education.

Other cash benefits paid independently of family allowances to support households and help them meet specific costs, such as costs arising from the specific needs of lone parent families or families with handicapped children should be recorded under the present function. These benefits may be paid periodically or as a lump-sum.

Medical care specific to children, which is reported under the Sickness/health care function.

Unemployment:

The Unemployment function includes benefits that

replace in whole or in part income lost by a worker due to the loss of gainful employment (unemployment insurance and/or unemployment assistance);
compensate for the loss of earnings due to partial unemployment (technical unemployment for economic or climatic reasons – only those provide by public funds-);
redundancy compensation from public funds;
replace in whole or in part income lost by an older worker (or older unemployed difficult to re-place in the labour market) who retires from gainful employment before the legal retirement age because of job reductions for economic reasons (early retirement benefit for economic reasons);
contribute to the cost of training or re-training people looking for employment 3 (training allowances – cash benefits – and all costs to run a training – benefits in kind);
help unemployed persons meet the cost of travelling or relocating to obtain employment (mobility and resettlement benefits);
provide help and relief by providing appropriate goods and services (such as the provision of accommodation, food or clothes or similar assistance to unemployed persons and their families,including reduced prices, tariffs, fares and so on for unemployed persons where they are expressly granted for social protection) . 4

Normally the benefits (cash and kind) are provided by the unemployment insurance institutions and/or by the Placement employment services institutions.

Medical care specific to unemployed, which is reported under the sickness/health care function. Family allowances paid for dependent children to recipients of unemployment benefits are reported under the Family/children function.

Housing:

The Housing Function is made up of interventions by public authorities to help households meet the cost of housing.

Rent benefit: a current means-tested transfer granted by a public authority to tenants, temporarily or on a long-term basis, to help with rent costs. Part of the rent benefits are the Social housing . 5
Benefit to owner-occupiers: a means-tested transfer by a public authority to owner-occupiers to alleviate their current housing costs: in practice often help with paying mortgages and/or interest. All capital transfers (in particular investment grants) are excluded. Housing policies are widespread in the countries and their purpose often goes beyond that of social protection: they may be aimed at encouraging the building industry, ownership of dwellings, saving and so on. These wider measures are not within the scope of Social Protection.

Social Exclusion: The social exclusion function includes benefits (normally means-tested) that provide an income and goods and services to people, in principle with insufficient resources.

This function refers to the "socially excluded" or to "those at function of social exclusion". General as this is, target groups may be identified (among others) as destitute people, migrants, refugees, drug or alcohol addicts, victims of criminal violence.

The main benefits covered by the social exclusion function are:

Income support: periodic payments to people with insufficient resources. Conditions for entitlement may be related not only to the personal resources but also to nationality, residence, age, availability for work and family status. The benefit may have a limited or an unlimited duration; it may be paid to the individual or to the family, and provided by central or local government.
Other cash benefit: support for destitute and vulnerable persons to help alleviate poverty or assist in difficult situations. Only those related to public expenditure should be taken in consideration.
Accommodation: shelter and board provided to destitute or vulnerable people, where these services cannot be classified under another function. This may be short term in reception centres, shelters and so on or on a more regular basis in special institutions, boarding houses, reception families and so on.
Rehabilitation of alcohol and drug abusers: treatment of alcohol and drug dependency aimed at reconstructing the social life of the abusers, making them able to live an independent life. The treatment is usually provided in reception centres or special institutions.
Other benefits in kind: basic services and goods to help vulnerable people, such as counselling, day shelter, help with carrying out daily tasks, food, clothing, fuel, etc. Legal aid provided with a means-test is also included.

Benefits for the poor are normally means-tested and the concept of insufficient resources is determined according to standards laid down by the resident public authorities. However, not all the benefits included in this function require a means-test. Sometimes, the absence of adequate resources is implicit, in the case of refugees for example. Other times, the benefits are provided regardless of the financial situation of the beneficiary, such as in the case of drug addicts.

If, on the one hand, some benefits targeted at indigent households are included in other functions (when they are aimed at specific categories of the population such as the elderly or the unemployed), on the other hand not all the benefits belonging to this function will be targeted at indigent households.

Schemes which provide minimum means of subsistence to people who are indigent, irrespective of cause are classified under the function Social exclusion. However all non-contributory and means-tested public schemes providing a minimum entitlement in the case of old age, disability or unemployment must be incorporated in the corresponding functions and not under the present function.

Other: The all social benefits for which it is not possible to classify in a specific function.

Detail family benefit

Cash

Family allowances: Periodical payments to a member of a household with dependent children (including disabled children and/or adopted) to help with the costs of raising children. For the desegregations requested (which means-tested, contributory and non-contributory schemes) see the general definitions.

The upper age limit for granting a benefit for dependent child (notably, family allowance) may be related to the national compulsory school leaving age or the labour laws. The standard age may be extended if the child continues in further education or vocational training or alternatively is he or she is handicapped or unemployed. These benefits are designed to provide financial support to families for bringing up children, and not to help towards the cost of education.

Education benefits are in fact not included within the scope of Social Protection.

Compensation during maternity leave: Flat-rate or earnings-related payments intended to compensate the protected person for the loss of earnings due to absence from work in connection with childbirth for the period before and/or after confinement or in connection with adoption. The benefit may also be paid to the father.

For the desegregations requested (which means-tested, contributory and non-contributory schemes) see the general definitions.

These benefits may be paid by autonomous social protection schemes (insurance institution as health insurance institution), but they are also provided by employers in the form of continued payment of wages and salaries during absence from work. The last one (employer) should not be included.

In some countries the maternity leave benefits are paid by non-contributory scheme (assistance) in particular for the mothers which are not covered by the insurance system.

Parental leave: Benefit paid to either mother or father in case of interruption of work or reduction of working time in order to bring up a child, normally of young age.

For the desegregations requested (which means-tested, contributory and non-contributory schemes) see the general definitions.

These benefits are not related to the birth of the child as the maternity leave or birth grant but are related to bring up the child. Can be provided by an insurance institution and/or by a social assistance funds (non-contributory scheme and as means-tested).

Birth grant: Benefits normally paid as a lump sum or by instalments’ in case of childbirth or adoption.

For the desegregations requested (which means-tested, contributory and non-contributory schemes) see the general definitions.

Other social cash benefits: Benefits paid independently of family allowances to support households and help them meet specific costs, such as costs arising from the specific needs of lone parent families or families with handicapped children. These benefits may be paid periodically or as a lump-sum.

For the desegregations requested (which means-tested, contributory and non-contributory schemes) see the general definitions.

Child day care: SShelter and board provided to pre-school children during the day or part of the day. The age limit for pre-school is defined by national legislation. Financial assistance towards the payment of a nurse to look after children during the day is also included here.

The pre-school system is sometimes the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and sometimes not, and in several cases the youngest children may attend other pre-primary school facilities, such as day care centres or kindergarten. Concerning the pre-primary education system, only the part of social protection benefits has to be recorded under the item "child day care".

The computation of the social protection's share is not straightforward in all the countries; when this is not directly derived from the financing sources (central and/or local government accounts), an estimate should be provided.

In some countries, the total expenditure of the pre-primary system generated for children below the age of attendance at pre-primary school is recorded: this is the case in countries such as Latvia and Lithuania where also the youngest children aged 0-3 may be admitted to the education system; for example, in Latvia (the pre-school system is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and the last two years of pre-primary education are compulsory) the estimation of the government expenditure on child day care is done by calculating the per-child cost at kindergarten (dividing the total cost for kindergartens by the number of children at kindergartens) and multiplying this number with the number of children aged 0-3.

In other countries, other relevant age limits are used, for example, when the age for compulsory attendance does not coincide with the primary school age.

Accommodation: Shelter and board provided to children and families on a permanent basis (such as in institutional care, nursing homes and foster families.

Home help: Goods and services provided at home to children and/or to those who care for them.

Other benefits in kind: Miscellaneous goods and services provided to families, young people or children (holiday and leisure centres), including reductions in prices, tariffs, fares and so on for children or large families, where expressly granted for social protection. This category also includes family planning services.

Free or subsidised school meals, books and assisted holidays should be considered as part of the social protection system and included as other benefits in kind where benefits are provided solely to indigent families, after a means-test. It can be argued that the object of the measure is to redistribute income in favour of those who have insufficient resources rather than to provide free access to education.

Other variables/indicators

Cash Benefits to Disabled Children: TThe all benefits paid to a disabled child where is entitled in his or her own right, irrespective of dependency.

The supplement to family allowances given to a member of a household with dependent disabled children should be classified as family allowance.

Income support: Periodic payments to people with insufficient resources. Conditions for entitlement may be related not only to the personal resources but also to nationality, residence, age, availability for work and family status. The benefit may have a limited or an unlimited duration; it may be paid to the individual or to the family, and provided by central or local government.

Note: the income support is normally part of the social exclusion function. The definition of ‘the cash means-tested benefit’ is presented above.

Public Cash Benefits to Orphans Children as % of total Public Cash Benefits relates to Family/ Children: The total cash benefits related to family/children function is obtained as the sum of the cash benefits related to family/children: Family allowance, Compensation of wages during maternity leave, birth grant, parental leave and other cash benefits related to the family/children function. For the definitions of each cash benefit related to family/children function see the definitions of the individual variables of the indicator share of the total public cash benefits related to family/children.

Public cash benefits to orphans children: Periodic payments to orphans (defined as the children who lost one or both parents) whose entitlement derives from their relationship with a deceased person.

Included also the death grant (single payment to someone whose entitlement derives from their relationship with a deceased person) and other periodic or lump-sum payments made by virtue of a derived right of the orphan.

Pensions

Disability Pension: periodic payments intended to maintain or support the income of someone below the legal/standard retirement age as established in the reference scheme who suffers from a disability which impairs his or her ability to work or earn beyond a minimum level laid down by legislation.

Old age pension: periodic payments to people whose entitlement derives from their relationship with a deceased person protected by the scheme (widows, widowers, orphans and similar).

Survivors' pension: periodic payments to people whose entitlement derives from their relationship with a deceased person protected by the scheme (widows, widowers, orphans and similar).

Early retirement pensions:

periodic payments to older workers who retire before reaching the legal/standard retirement age as established in the reference scheme as a result of reduced ability to work. These payments normally cease when the beneficiary becomes entitled to an old age pension.
Early retirement for labour market reasons: periodic payments to older workers who retire before reaching the legal/standard retirement age due to unemployment or to job reduction caused by economic measures such as the restructuring of an industrial sector or of a business. These payments normally cease when the beneficiary becomes entitled to an old age pension.

1

 The benefits in kind are valued as the sum of the costs incurred in their production and supply to the beneficiaries, that is, the sum of:

  1. Intermediate consumption
  2. Compensation of employees
  3. Consumption of fixed capital
  4. Taxes on production and imports less subsidies.

Other categories of costs, such as interest costs, are not taken into account. The element Compensation of employees refers exclusively to personnel involved in the provision of social benefits. So, for example, the salaries of doctors and nurses of State hospitals are included, but the salaries of personnel in the Ministry of Health are excluded because they produce collective rather than individual services.

2

  Services: medical and paramedical services provided by general practitioners, specialists and other health care personnel; laboratory tests and other examinations; dental care; physiotherapy; thermal cures; transport of sick people; preventive treatment such as vaccinations; accommodation in the case of a stay in hospital or other medical institution. Medical services as defined here cover those provided outside medical institutions as well as within.

Goods: pharmaceutical products; medical prosthesis (optical and acoustical aids; orthopedic; dental and other prosthesis); dressings and medical supplies.

3

Included here also the employed at risk.

4

Intermediation, information and career guidance services provided by job placement should be included here. For instance selection of job seekers, job counseling, training for active job search, job clubs, drafting of individual employment plans with the unemployed, psychological counseling for individuals when choosing and, changing occupations and decision-making related to career development, improving skills for active job search - self-efficiency training, psychological assessment for purpose of selection of job candidates, for purpose of inclusion in the programmers of further education and training and entrepreneurship programmers, psychological assessments for the purposes of classification, providing information on labour market and opportunities for career development, etc.

5

Loss of rental income due to the current imposition of non-commercial rents (that is, rents below the normal market price) by public bodies or private non-profit institutions that own low-cost or social housing. The assignment of housing at noncommercial rents must be determined by a test on the households' income and/or wealth.