Last year, 169 billion euro was paid out in social security benefits, i.e. 30 percent of the total amount earned by all Dutch. Two thirds of social security concern old age provisions and support given to ill people. Due to rising unemployment figures, the total amount paid in unemployment (WW) benefits grew most rapidly. The total amount spent in the Netherlands on social security is high relative to other countries.
Largest amount goes to older and sick people
Social security comprises all benefits paid to alleviate the financial burden on households and individuals. Last year, the costs of social security payments increased by 9 billion euro relative to 2008. This is predominantly caused by an extra amount of 3.3 billion euro spent on health care under the Health Care Insurance Act (ZVW) and the Exceptional Medical Expenses Act (AWBZ). Altogether, 56 billion euro were paid to provide support to ill people.
Expenditure on old age provisions, e.g. the General Old Age Pension Act and supplementary pensions totalled 58 billion euro last year, an increase by 1.7 billion euro relative to 2008.
The category ‘other benefits’ includes for instance WW benefits. Proportionally, the most rapid increase was recorded in the category benefits to unemployed (mainly WW benefits) last year. Approximately 8 billion euro was paid to unemployed in 2009, i.e. 28 percent or 1.8 billion euro more than in the preceding year.
Expenditure on social security benefits by category
Considerable differences between Eastern and Western Europe
In 2009, the Dutch received more than 10 thousand euro in social security benefits per capita, which is a relatively high amount. The most recent European figures, referring to 2007 (adjusted for differences in purchasing power) show that only residents of Luxembourg and Sweden receive higher benefits. Generally, the lowest social security benefits per capita are paid in Eastern Europe. On average, the lowest benefits in Europe were paid in Romania in 2007. Expressed as a percentage of the national income, social security benefits are also high in the Netherlands and most other Western European countries relative to EU countries elsewhere in Europe.
Social security benefits per individual 2007, in purchasing power parities