Brief survey description: social protection benefits

What does the survey comprise?


Statistics about social protection benefits make up an important part of the European System of Social Protection Statistics (ESSPROS) programme. This programme was set up in order to compare the social protection systems of European countries. Social protection benefits statistics are constructed in two ways: by function of the social protection scheme, and by category in which the scheme can fall.

Target population

Social protection benefits are classified as all benefits paid under social services schemes, social security laws, and pension insurance; social benefits paid directly by employers; and social benefits in kind delivered by the government to households.


Statistics Netherlands supplies statistics for the ESSPROS programme to the European statistical office, Eurostat. The figures are compiled from data from the national accounts, which are set up in accordance with the guidelines of the European System of Accounts (ESA1995).

Relation with other StatLine tables

StatLine contains various tables on social security, showing the benefit per scheme or per social security fund. The figures in these tables used to compile social protection benefits by function and category. However, social protection benefits include more than the social security schemes alone; they also include: social services, pension insurances, other private social benefits and benefits paid directly by employers.  The functional breakdown of benefits, as explained in the ESA 1995 manual, corresponds to the functional breakdown of ESSPROS, with the exception that ESA 1995 contains an extra function: ‘education’. This function is not included in the social protection schemes.

Year survey started




How is the survey conducted?

Main sources

The sources used to compile the sector accounts, part of the national accounts, are also the main sources for the estimation of the social protection benefits. The sources of the following sub-sectors in particular are used: Insurance corporations and pension funds (S.125), central government (S.1311), local government (S.1313) and social security funds (S.1314). A number of direct sources are used to compile these sub-sectors: financial data from pension funds, monthly, quarterly and annual reports of social security schemes and government organisations. In addition, some indirect sources are also used, such as information from the association of health insurances (College voor Zorgverzekeringen), the alliance of insurers (Verbond van Verzekeraars) and the Dutch central bank (De Nederlandsche Bank).

Sequential comparability

As the social protection benefits follow the continuity strategy of the national accounts, the figures are comparable over time. In this strategy, the correct direction of changes is considered more important than the actual value of the statistics. Systematic changes, like the introduction of the new health insurance scheme (zorgverzekeringswet) in 2006, are implemented immediately.


The national accounts undergo a thorough revision once every five to ten years. These  revisions include the redefining of statistics for each year, and the implementation of new sources and methods. The most recent revision took place for 2001. The social protection benefits are revised alongside the national accounts.

Quality strategy

Various sources are confronted within the System of National Accounts. The figures are compiled according to the European System of Accounts (ESA1995). The ESSPROS manual of 2008 is used to specify the category in which a social protection scheme falls, and to examine the functions of that scheme. Statistics Netherlands is accountable to Eurostat for the methods and sources it uses. Furthermore, the results are evaluated in working groups.