Click here to view a detailed overview of the Department of Social Security.
This overview includes the Department's Mission Statement, details information of it's core operations and also the duties and responisibilities of:
The Legal Provisions
The Social Security Act (Cap 318) provides for two basic schemes. One Scheme is known as the Contributory Scheme, and the other as the Non Contributory Scheme. In the Contributory Scheme, the basic requirement for entitlement is that specific contribution conditions are satisfied. In the Non Contributory Scheme, the basic requirement is that the conditions of the means test are satisfied.
The administration and execution of the provisions leading to the implementation of these two schemes are provided for in the thirteen parts that make up the Act. Each part has a number of sections and the whole Act embodies one hundred and thirty six sections. The majority of these sections provide for entitlement conditions for the various benefits, pensions, allowances, grants and assistances. Some of these sections are solely devoted to administrative procedures. Others ensure legality in the enforcement of certain provisions, whilst others provide the legal framework for the setting up of certain machinery like boards and committees.
Although the Act vests its execution in the Director (now Director General) and gives him certain discretionary powers, it has an in-built mechanism that ensures redress when a claimant feels aggrieved by a decision of the Director. In fact, one section provides for an appeal to be lodged in front of the Umpire who is empowered to decide even against the Director General. The Director is also liable to be challenged in the Civil Courts, including the Court of Appeal as well as the Constitutional Court.
The Non-Contributory Scheme which originally was meant to cater for those below the 'poverty line' has over the years evolved into a comprehensive scheme covering types of benefits that supplement each another. This provides for simultaneous coverage in those cases where more than one contingency is present. Moreover, through the process of targeting, this scheme has succeeded in the provision of additional assistance to certain specific categories such as, in the case of persons with a disability, in the case of single parents, as well as in the case of the family as a single unit.
Indeed, one may say that the development that took place, over a number of years, in the provisions of the non contributory scheme may be considered as a synopsis of the dynamic process that was taking place in our society over the same period.
The Contributory Scheme may be said to cater for the other side of the coin. This scheme is universal since it practically covers all strata of our society. The contributory scheme in Malta is a system where an employee, self-occupied or self-employed person pays a weekly contribution as laid down by the Social Security Act. In official jargon we call the Maltese system a pay as you go system. This is due to the fact that you contribute during the period that you are gainfully active in order to provide for yourself when a later contingency such as sickness, unemployment or retirement occurs.
All employed, self-employed, self-occupied as well as unemployed persons may be insured. This is precisely the reason why the scheme provides for the payment of different classes and categories of contributions, as we shall explain later on. Moreover, under certain conditions, the scheme acknowledges the non-payment (crediting) of contributions during a period of a specific contingency, and provides for the crediting in lieu of the payment of contributions.