Municipal authorities estimate to spend five billion euro on income support benefits in 2008, the lowest amount since 1995. This is mainly due to a reduction in the number of income support recipients in 2006 and 2007. Many municipalities assume this trend will continue in 2008. Favourable economic prospects play a part in this respect. The Act on Work and Income Support – introduced in early 2004 – allows municipalities to help and stimulate people living on income support to find jobs. The Act allows municipal authorities to transfer surplus money to the general fund. Reversely, if the income support budget is insufficient, money can be extracted from the general fund. Prior to the introduction of the new act, municipalities could turn the national government to claim costs.
Estimated costs of income support benefits