Analyses about the social security system

In the course of their lifetime, a person can receive several components from the social security system.  Some social benefits go hand in hand together and are received one after the other or at the same time. The unemployment insurance (ALV), social assistance and invalidity insurance (IV) form such a combination.

In order to better analyse the interactions and relationships between ALV, social assistance and IV, the SHIVALV data set was created from data sets from the three benefit systems. This enables trajectories in a substantial part of the social security system to be observed and understood.

The SHIVALV data set

The SHIVALV data set forms the basis of the statistics on trajectories in the social security system, which evolved from the Federal Social Insurance Office’s SHIVALV monitoring. The statistics cover recipients of benefits from the unemployment insurance (ALV), the invalidity insurance (IV) and social assistance, who received benefits in the form of ALV daily allowances, IV pensions or social assistance in the period under observation. Individual data from the three social systems were combined to form one data set. Such data only includes social assistance in the narrow sense (financial social assistance): it is currently not possible to include any other means-tested benefits from cantons and communes.

The data set includes all benefit recipients aged 18-65 with permanent residency in Switzerland. Children aged 0-17, who account for a third of social benefit recipients, are not included. For 2020 the data set contains information on 725 743 persons.

Based on the definition of the reference population (18-65 year-old resident population in Switzerland), persons leaving Switzerland are considered as having left the system and persons coming to live in Switzerland as entering it.

Recipient rates for the whole system and for the individual benefit systems refer to the total number of recipients cumulated throughout the year and the permanent resident population at the end of each year. They are not unemployment, IV-pension or social assistance rates. The rates published here are considerably different to the statistics published separately for the individual benefit systems.

In the analysis of trajectories in the social security system, only people and flows of people between the three benefit systems are examined. Financial flows and the related internal accounting and financial reimbursements cannot be presented, or only insufficiently, with the data base available. Neither do the data contain information on retrospectively paid pensions - a relatively common occurrence in the IV once benefits have been approved.

Evaluation of the SHIVALV data set

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Statistical sources and concepts


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