Number of people on Danish welfare benefits increases, reversing trend

After several years of decreases, the number of people whose income is supported by the state has gone up in 2019.

Number of people on Danish welfare benefits increases, reversing trend
File photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

The second quarter of this year saw the number of people receiving the various forms of social welfare support reach 701,400, according to Statistics Denmark – an increase of 6,900.

The figures encompass all forms of social welfare payments, including support paid to people out of work (kontanthjælp, dagpenge, fleksjob) and special types of pension (efterløn, førtidspension) but not the state student grant (SU) or state pension (folkepension).

But the 2019 increase is due to a raise in the retirement age from 65 years to 65.5 years as of January 1st, 2019, according to Statistics Denmark.

That meant an increase in overall size to the group which falls into categories encompassed by the welfare benefits figure.

An additional 200 people available to the labour market are out of work compared with last year. 1,000 more people are receiving the dagpenge unemployment insurance, which is partly state-funded, while 1,200 left the system.

Although the number of people receiving benefits has increased this year, it is still some 150,800 lower than it was in 2010 and is close to the lowest figure recorded since 1987.

Reductions in the total in recent years have been related to lower unemployment and fewer people receiving the special pensions.

A strong Danish economy has contributed to this, as have pension reforms meaning many have had to work longer before retiring.


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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.