Social expenditure

A large proportion of expenditure on social benefits in Austria is in respect of the old age function. In 2019, according to preliminary results around €50.8bn were spent on old age benefits, equating to 44% of total social benefit expenditure (1980: 32%, 1990: 37%, 2000: 39% and 2010: 42%). Expenditure on benefits in the context of the sickness/health care function, at a level of around €29.8bn, was in second place with a share of 26% (1980: 29%, 1990 and 2000: 26%, 2010: 25%). More than 70% of social expenditure was thus in respect of old age and health care benefits. Significantly lower proportions of expenditure were accounted for by the following functions (stages of life or social risks): 9% family/children, 6% disability and survivors each, 5% unemployment as well as 2% housing and social exclusion.

68% of social expenditure (without taking into account transfers and other expenditure) consisted of cash benefits. Old age, disability and survivors’ benefits are the most important cash benefits, with importance also being accorded to family and unemployment transfers. Benefits in kind (32%) are dominated by out-patient and in-patient health care benefits.

In 2018, preliminary €56.1bn was spent on pension benefits, amounting to 14.1% of gross domestic product (GDP). According to the European system of integrated social protection statistics (ESSPROS) social benefits for pension beneficiaries comprise mainly pension benefits from the statutory pension insurance, from public authorities, work accident insurance, maintenance acts (social compensation), from unemployment insurance and occupational pensions. Pension expenditures in the EU are accessible on the Eurostat website.

After deduction of wage tax and social contributions, partly due from cash benefits, 90.5% (2017) of social benefits (cash benefits and benefits in kind) actually reach the beneficiaries. The share went down before the tax reform in 2016 to 89.3% (2015) and again increased in 2016 to 90.6%. The share of net social benefits is lowest in old age function (83.7%), while social benefits for families and in the functions housing and social exclusion are granted without deduction (values for 2017). Corresponding results in Europe are available on the Eurostat website.

Please consult our German website for tables and charts containing further information.

Results (overview): Social expenditure


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