Welfare claims decline in Switzerland, despite pandemic

Welfare claims decline in Switzerland, despite pandemic

The number of claims for welfare in Switzerland has declined over the last year, despite the COVID pandemic. However, experts say that this phenomenon is not expected to last.

Claims for Swiss welfare declined in 2021

According to the Swiss Conference for Social Welfare (SKOS), in 2021, the number of claims for welfare decreased by 1,4 percent compared to 2019. Today, around 268.000 people claim social security benefits, a drop of around 3.000 compared with 2020.

The picture was different across the country, as some areas, like Swiss cities, suffered from a lack of tourism and continual COVID restrictions. Geneva and Lucerne saw the number of claimants rise, which Swissinfo said was a consequence of the sharp decline in the number of tourists from abroad.

Decline in welfare claimants only temporary

The SKOS attributed the overall fall in claimants to the wide-ranging financial incentives provided by the government to businesses during the pandemic, which allowed them to furlough workers, keeping them in jobs so they can continue to receive their salaries. Improved unemployment benefits were also praised alongside competitive compensation payments for those who lost their jobs.

However, the SKOS made clear that the decline in cases is a temporary phenomenon, estimating that welfare claims could increase by up to 14 percent by the end of next year. They warned that, as COVID aid from the government comes to an end, Switzerland will see a growing number of unemployed people who will have to claim welfare.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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