National Insurance Scheme

All Norwegian citizens and individuals working in Norway are automatically qualified for membership of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, a government insurance scheme entitling members to pensions (e.g. old age, survivors, disability) as well as benefits in connection with industrial accidents, accidents and illness, pregnancy, birth, single parent families and funerals. Together with the insurance schemes for family allowance and the cash benefit to parents of young children (kontantstøtte), the National Insurance Scheme comprises the most important general insurance scheme in Norway.

At the end of 1999, some 1.1 million people had disbursements from the national insurance as their main source of income, including approximately 900 000 old-age pensioners.  In 1999, the total outlay of the insurance scheme reached NOK 162 billion, corresponding to 13.6% of the GDP and roughly 34.3% of the national budget. The National Insurance Scheme is financed by membership fees from employees, self-employed individuals and other insured parties, employer’s contributions and government allocations.

The public social services first emerged in the 1700s. Prior to this, the family, church or the individual parish was responsible for looking after the poor and infirm or aged. The expansion of the social services and national insurance is closely linked to the process of industrialization.  Industry brought with it new health hazards, greater mobility and thus a weakening of family ties. At the same time, it provided the economic basis for social reform. The Norwegian Accident Insurance for Factory Workers of 1895 was gradually extended to apply to other professions, followed by the introduction of sickness benefits, old-age benefits (1936), unemployment benefits (1939), disability benefits (1960) and benefits for widows and single mothers (1964). In 1967, the social benefits introduced prior to WWII were amalgamated into the National Insurance Scheme. Payments from the scheme are determined by the number of pension points that an individual has earned.

Source: Edited from Aschehoug and Gyldendal's Norwegian Encyclopedia   |   Share on your network   |   print