The core system contains annual data (starting from the year 1990) collected by Eurostat on:
- Quantitative data: social protection receipts and expenditures by schemes;
- Qualitative database: metadata by scheme and detailed benefit.
ESSPROS, the integrated system of social protection statistics, provides a coherent comparison between European countries of social benefits to households and their financing. Social benefits are transfers to households, in cash or in kind intended to relieve them from the financial burden of a number of risks or needs.
The risks or needs of social protection refer to the ESSPROSS functions that are comprehensive, but do not include education unless it is a support to indigent families with children. The functions are disability, sickness/health care, old age, survivors, family/children, unemployment, housing and social exclusion.
Social benefits are made through collectively organised schemes by government and/or collective agreements. The schemes do not necessarily refer to institutions, although they are in many cases. These schemes can be defined solely for ESSPROS as a classification of schemes exists, where schemes are grouped by criteria. All schemes that are solely based on individual arrangements or where simultaneous reciprocal agreements exist are not regarded as social protection.
The modules contain supplementary statistical information on particular aspects of social protection: they relate to pension beneficiaries and to net social benefits.
The annual data collection for the module on pension beneficiaries has been launched in 2010 for reference year 2008. The aim of the module on pension beneficiaries is to provide the total number of beneficiaries for:
- Each of the seven categories of pensions;
- Each of the four functions grouping these categories (i.e. disability, old-age, survivors and unemployment);
- The "old-age and survivors" function;
- The aggregation of the four functions, at 'Total' level.
The net social protection benefits module shows the real impact of social transfers on the income of beneficiaries, by measuring expenditure on social protection benefits less the taxes and social contributions paid on these benefits. This module estimates the amount effectively disbursed in a country for social protection benefits and leads to a more reliable cross-country comparability of expenditure on social protection.
The net benefits module (following the so-called "restricted" approach) does not include fiscal benefits, with the only exception of payable tax credits (which are included as cash benefits in the Core system data).
The annual collection of data on net social benefits became compulsory in 2012, when data for the reference year 2010 were provided.
The "Data by scheme" gives access, for each country, to the quantitative data for each social protection scheme, together with the list of national schemes.
The "Qualitative information" contains a complete set of metadata, providing for each national scheme: a general description, a detailed description of the benefits and information on recent changes and reforms concerning the social protection system of the country.
The ESSPROS statistical unit is a 'scheme', which is defined as a distinct body of rules, supported by one or more institutional units, governing the provision of social protection benefits and their financing.
The receipts of social protection schemes are classified by type and origin. The type gives the nature of, or the reason for a payment: social contributions, general government contributions, transfers from other schemes and other receipts; the origin specifies the institutional sector from which the payment is received: All resident institutional units (Corporations, General government, households, Non-profit institutions serving households) and Rest of the world.
The expenditure of social protection is classified by type, indicating the nature of, or the reason for, the expenditure: social protection benefits, administration costs, transfers to other schemes and other expenditure.
Social protection benefits are transfers to households, in cash or in kind, intended to relieve them from the financial burden of a number of risks or needs. The risks or needs of social protection included in ESSPROS are disability, sickness/health care, old age, survivors, family/children, unemployment, housing and social exclusion not elsewhere classified.
The annual data collection for the module on pension beneficiaries provides the total number of beneficiaries, for each of the seven categories of pensions, for each of the four functions grouping these categories (i.e. disability, old-age, survivors and unemployment), for the "old-age and survivors" function and for the aggregation of the four functions, at 'Total' level.
The annual data collection for the module on net social protection benefits provides the net value of the benefits, which is calculated by deducting taxes and social contributions payable on these benefits by recipients, the share of benefits subject to taxation or social contribution, together with the combined taxation and social contribution rates.