Expenditure on surviving relatives

Expenditures on surviving relatives consists of benefits in cash, where supplementary pensions are the largest expenditure and the financing thereof by public authorities, employers, employees, and others.
Depending on national policies there is a difference between the Nordic countries on how much of the financing is transferred to funding of this policy area.

Social expenditure on surviving relatives

In all Nordic countries the expenditure on cash benefits is a major part of the total expenditure of this policy area.

The data indicate that less than one percent of GDP is spend on expenditure for surviving relatives, and that the expenditure has been at almost the same level throughout the period. The Icelandic figures indicate an increase in 2020, but it is most likely due to the reduced level of GDP compared to previous years.

Changes in expenditure since 2010

Since 2010, the expenditure on cash benefits have been stable in most Nordic countries, except for an increase in Iceland and a decrease in Sweden.

The highest level is in Finland, followed by Iceland, and the lowest levels are observed in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

Not all Nordic countries have expenditure on benefits in kind for surviving relatives. The data show that this kind of service is only offered in Denmark, Norway, and Finland. Since 2010, the level of expenditure has been constant in all countries. Though the graph might suggest a sharp increase in expenditure in Denmark, it is still at a low level in PPS pr. Capita.

Source of financing

The data on expenditure consists also of sources of financing. The financing of social expenditure comes from several sources such as public authorities, employers, employees, and others.

Financing of expenditure on surviving relatives by public authorities is very similar in the Nordic countries, and the level of financing is generally low.

The financing by employers on surviving relatives is much more different across the Nordic countries. Data show that in all countries, the financing by employers mostly target the expenditure on cash benefits. It is the highest level in Iceland and lowest in Norway. Since 2010 the level of financing by employers have decreased in Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

Transfers and the building of funds

If national policies allow for a structure of funding to secure a benefit, the sum of financing will often be higher than the total expenditure any given year.

In Nordic countries that rely on taxation to finance a benefit area, there is often no transfers to or from funding. On the other hand, the transfers to or from funding can be substantial in cases, where a country rely on funding to secure future expenditure.

The level of transfers is derived from the calculation of the sum of all financing subtracted the total expenditure. If the result is positive, it indicates a profit and therefore a transfer to funding purposes. However, if the transfer is negative, the deficit indicates that the expenditure has been supplemented by funding.

In most Nordic countries there are some forms of transfer to funding targeting expenditure on surviving relatives, but the levels are very different. The level of transfers in Norway are almost insignificant, and at a value of less than 1 PPS pr. Capita. On the other hand, the Icelandic figures looks to be periodically very high.