50,000 live only on social assistance

About 50,000 people live on social assistance without other income in Norway. Families with children receive the most, but the payments vary with family situation.

Of about 132,000 social welfare recipients in 2017, there were 50,000 people who lived by social assistance alone, without having any other social security or pension as well, according to figures from Statistics Norway (Statistics Norway) .

A total of NOK 3.4 billion in social assistance was paid to this group. Each recipient received an average of NOK 10,500 per month. It is around 1,300 NOK more than the average among all social welfare recipients in 2017.

In the group that only lived by social assistance, the payments vary with the recipient’s family situation. Recipients with children get more paid than recipients without children.

In addition, there is a difference between the payments to single parents and couples with children. Single parents receive an average of NOK 12,800 per month, while couples with children on average receive about NOK 15,500.

This may indicate that there is less difference between single and couple’s cost of living than the state rate suggests, SSB notes.

85 per cent of the country’s municipalities include child benefit as part of the recipient’s income basis before they calculate the social assistance payment, and 90 per cent includes cash support. Similarly, 14 per cent of the country’s municipalities included children’s income in the basis for calculating benefits.

About 21,500 children are supported by a social assistance recipient who lives on social assistance alone. 14,000 of these live in a municipality where the child benefit is part of the recipient’s income.

Oslo has the highest average payments in the country, with NOK 12,300 per month per recipient. Other major cities such as Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger are also at the top.

Small municipalities pay less, on average between NOK 7,700 and NOK 8,800.

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