public aid


Welfare (or commonly, social welfare) is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet
basic human needs Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an idea in psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It i ...

basic human needs
such as food and shelter. Social security may either be synonymous with welfare, or refer specifically to
social insurance Social insurance is a concept where the government intervenes in the insurance Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management Risk management is the identification, evaluation, and prioriti ...
programs which provide support only to those who have previously contributed (e.g. most pension systems), as opposed to ''social assistance'' programs which provide support on the basis of need alone (e.g. most disability benefits). The
International Labour Organization The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards. Founded in October 1919 under the League of Nations, it is the fir ...
defines social security as covering support for those in old age, support for the maintenance of children,
medical treatment Major trauma is any injury Injury, also known as physical trauma, is damage Damage is any change in a thing, often a physical object, that degrades it away from its initial state. It can broadly be defined as "changes introduced into a s ...
parental A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child (where "child" refers to offspring, not necessarily age). A ''biological parent'' is a person whose gamete resulted in a child, a male ...
sick leave Sick leave (or paid sick days or sick pay) is paid time off Paid time off, planned time off, or personal time off (PTO), is a policy in some employee handbook An employee handbook, sometimes also known as an employee manual, staff handbook, or ...
unemployment Unemployment, according to the OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38&nbs ...
disability benefits Disability A disability is any condition that makes it more difficult for a person to do certain activities or effectively interact with the world around them (socially or materially). These conditions, or impairments, may be Cognitive dis ...
, and support for sufferers of
occupational injury An occupational injury is bodily damage resulting from working. The most common organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on m ...
. More broadly, welfare may also encompass efforts to provide a basic level of
well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a person is what is ultimately good ''for'' this person, what is in the ...
through free or
subsidized A subsidy or government incentive is a form of financial aid or support extended to an economic sector (business, or individual) generally with the aim of promoting economic and social policy. Although commonly extended from the government, the ter ...

''social services'' such as
healthcare Healthcare is the maintenance or improvement of health Health, according to the , is "a state of complete physical, and social and not merely the absence of and ".. (2006)''Constitution of the World Health Organization''– ''Basic Docume ...
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion ...
vocational training Vocational education is education that prepares people to work as a technician or to take up employment in a skilled craft or trade as a tradesman, tradesperson or artisan. Vocational education is sometimes referred to as ''career and technica ...
public housing Public housing is a form of housing tenure in which the property is usually owned by a government authorities, government authority, either central or local. Social housing is any rental housing that may be owned and managed by the state ...
.''The New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought'' Third Edition (1999), Allan Bullock and Stephen Trombley Eds., p. 919. In a
welfare state The welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equal o ...
, the State assumes responsibility for the health, education, and welfare of society, providing a range of social services such as those described. The first codified universal government welfare was instituted in the 7th century (634 CE) in the time of the
Rashidun caliph , image = تخطيط كلمة الخلفاء الراشدون.png , caption = Calligraphic Calligraphy (from Greek language, Greek: καλλιγραφία) is a Visual arts, visual art related to writing. It is the design and execut ...
Umar ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb ( ar, عمر بن الخطاب; 3 November 644), also spelled Omar, was the second Rashidun, Rashidun caliph, reigning from 634 until his assassination in 644. He succeeded Abu Bakr (632–634) as the second caliph ...

. The first welfare state was
Imperial Germany The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
(1871–1918), where the Bismarck government introduced social security in 1889. In the early 20th century, the United Kingdom introduced social security around 1913, and adopted the welfare state with the
National Insurance Act 1946 The National Insurance Act 1946 (c 67) was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the B ...
, during the
Attlee government Clement Attlee Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, (3 January 18838 October 1967) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955. He was Deputy Prime Minister during the ...

Attlee government
(1945–51). In the countries of western Europe, Scandinavia, and Australasia, social welfare is mainly provided by the government out of the national tax revenues, and to a lesser extent by NGO, non-government organizations (NGOs), and Charitable organization, charities (social and religious). A right to social security and right to an adequate standard of living, an adequate standard of living is asserted in Articles 22 and 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


In the Roman Empire, the first emperor Augustus provided the ''Cura Annonae'' or grain dole for citizens who could not afford to buy food every month. Social welfare was enlarged by the Emperor Trajan. Trajan's program brought acclaim from many, including Pliny the Younger. The Song dynasty government (960 CE) supported multiple programs which could be classified as social welfare, including the establishment of retirement homes, public clinics, and paupers' graveyards. According to economist Robert Nelson (economist), Robert Henry Nelson, "The medieval Roman Catholic Church operated a far-reaching and comprehensive welfare system for the poor..." From the 14th century onward the governments of the Italian city-states began to partner with the church to provide welfare and education to the lower classes. In later Protestant European nations such as the Dutch Republic welfare was managed by local guilds until the abolition of the guild system in the early 19th century. In the free imperial cities of the Holy Roman Empire the city governments in cities like Nuremberg could take control of the collection and distribution of public welfare. The emergence of ''Zakat'' (charity), one of the Five Pillars of Islam as alms collected by the government, was the world's first instance of a codified universal social security tax, in the time of the
Rashidun caliph , image = تخطيط كلمة الخلفاء الراشدون.png , caption = Calligraphic Calligraphy (from Greek language, Greek: καλλιγραφία) is a Visual arts, visual art related to writing. It is the design and execut ...
Umar ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb ( ar, عمر بن الخطاب; 3 November 644), also spelled Omar, was the second Rashidun, Rashidun caliph, reigning from 634 until his assassination in 644. He succeeded Abu Bakr (632–634) as the second caliph ...

in the 7th century (634 CE), and used to provide income for the needy, including the Poverty, poor, Old age, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. According to the Islamic jurist Al-Ghazali (Algazel, 1058–111), the government was also expected to store up food supplies in every region in case a disaster or famine occurred.) (See Bayt al-mal for further information.) Likewise, in Jewish tradition, charity (represented by tzedakah) is a matter of religious obligation rather than benevolence. Contemporary charity is regarded as a continuation of the Bible, Biblical Maaser Ani, or poor-tithe, as well as Biblical practices, such as permitting the poor to glean the corners of a field and harvest during the Shmita (Sabbatical year). There is relatively little statistical data on transfer payments before the High Middle Ages. In the medieval period and until the Industrial Revolution, the function of welfare payments in Europe was achieved through private giving or Charity (practice), charity, through numerous Confraternity, confraternities and activities of different religious orders. Early welfare programs in Europe included the Kingdom of England, English Act for the Relief of the Poor 1601, Poor Law of 1601, which gave parishes the responsibility for providing welfare payments to the poor. Poor relief, This system was substantially modified by the 19th-century Poor Law Amendment Act, which introduced the system of workhouses. It was predominantly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that an organized system of state welfare provision was introduced in many countries. Otto von Bismarck, Chancellor of the German Empire, Chancellor of Germany, introduced one of the first welfare systems for the working classes. In Great Britain the Liberal Party (UK), Liberal government of Henry Campbell-Bannerman and David Lloyd George introduced the National Insurance system in 1911, a system later expanded by Clement Attlee. Modern welfare states include Germany, France, the Netherlands, as well as the Nordic countries, such as Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland which employ a system known as the Nordic model. Esping-Andersen classified the most developed welfare state systems into three categories; Social Democratic, Conservative, and Liberal. A report published by the ILO in 2014 estimated that only 27% of the world's population has access to comprehensive social security. The World Bank's 2019 World Development Report argues that the traditional payroll-based model of many kinds of social insurance are "increasingly challenged by working arrangements outside standard employment contracts".World Bank World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work. Chapter 6


Welfare can take a variety of forms, such as monetary payments, subsidies and vouchers, or housing assistance. Welfare systems differ from country to country, but welfare is commonly provided to individuals who are unemployment, unemployed, those with illness or disability, the elderly, those with dependent children, and veterans. Programs may have a variety of conditions for a person to receive welfare: * Social insurance, state-sponsored programs based partly on individual contributions towards benefits such as healthcare, unemployment payments, and old-age pensions. * Means test, Means-tested benefits, financial assistance provided for those who are unable to cover basic needs, such as food, clothing and housing, due to poverty or lack of income because of unemployment, sickness, disability, or caring for children. While assistance is often in the form of financial payments, those eligible for social welfare can usually access health and educational services free of charge. The amount of support is enough to cover basic needs and eligibility is often subject to a comprehensive and complex assessment of an applicant's social and financial situation. See also Income Support. * Non-contributory benefits. Several countries have special schemes, administered with no requirement for contributions and no means test, for people in certain categories of need: for example, veterans of armed forces, people with disabilities and very old people. * Discretionary benefits. Some schemes are based on the decision of an official, such as a social worker. * Universal or categorical benefits, also known as demogrants. These are non-contributory benefits given for whole sections of the population without a means test, such as family allowances or the public pension in New Zealand (known as New Zealand Superannuation Fund, New Zealand Superannuation). See also the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend.

Social protection

In developing countries, formal social security arrangements are often absent for the vast majority of the working population, in part due to reliance on the informal economy. Additionally, the state's capacity to reach people may be limited because of its limited infrastructure and resources. In this context, ''social protection'' is often referred to instead of social security, encompassing a broader set of means, such as Active labour market policies, labour market intervention and local community-based programs, to alleviate poverty and provide security against things like unemployment.

By country


Prior to 1900 in Australia, charitable assistance from benevolent societies, sometimes with financial contributions from the authorities, was the primary means of relief for people not able to support themselves. The 1890s economic depression and the rise of the trade unions and the Australian Labor Party#History, Labor parties during this period led to a movement for welfare reform. In 1900, the states of New South Wales and Victoria enacted legislation introducing non-contributory pensions for those aged 65 and over. Queensland legislated a similar system in 1907 before the Australian labor Commonwealth government led by Andrew Fisher introduced a national aged pension under the Invalid and Old-Aged Pensions Act 1908. A national invalid disability pension was started in 1910, and a national maternity allowance was introduced in 1912. During the Second World War, Australia under a labor government created a
welfare state The welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equal o ...
by enacting national schemes for: child endowment in 1941 (superseding the 1927 New South Wales scheme); a widows’ pension in 1942 (superseding the New South Wales 1926 scheme); a wife's allowance in 1943; additional allowances for the children of pensioners in 1943; and unemployment, sickness, and special benefits in 1945 (superseding the Queensland 1923 scheme).


Canada has a
welfare state The welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equal o ...
in the European tradition; however, it is not referred to as "welfare", but rather as "social programs". In Canada, "welfare" usually refers specifically to direct payments to poor individuals (as in the American usage) and not to healthcare and education spending (as in the European usage). The Canadian social safety net covers a broad spectrum of programs, and because Canada is a Canadian federalism, federation, many are run by the Provinces of Canada, provinces. Canada has a wide range of government transfer payments to individuals, which totaled $145billion in 2006. Only social programs that direct funds to individuals are included in that cost; programs such as Medicare (Canada), medicare and public education are additional costs. Generally speaking, before the Great Depression in Canada, Great Depression, most social services were provided by religious charities and other private groups. Changing government policy between the 1930s and 1960s saw the emergence of a welfare state, similar to many Western European countries. Most programs from that era are still in use, although many were scaled back during the 1990s as government priorities shifted towards reducing debt and Government budget deficit, deficits.


Danish welfare is handled by the state through a series of policies (and the like) that seeks to provide welfare services to citizens, hence the term welfare state. This refers not only to social benefits, but also tax-funded education, public child care, medical care, etc. A number of these services are not provided by the state directly, but administered by municipalities, regions or private providers through outsourcing. This sometimes gives a source of tension between the state and municipalities, as there is not always consistency between the promises of welfare provided by the state (i.e. parliament) and local perception of what it would cost to fulfill these promises.



The Central Government of India's social programmes and welfare expenditures are a substantial portion of the official budget, and state and local governments play roles in developing and implementing social security policies. Additional welfare measure systems are also uniquely operated by various state governments. The government uses the unique identity number (Aadhar) that every Indian possesses to distribute welfare measures in India. As of 2020, the government's expenditure on social programme and welfare (direct cash transfers, financial inclusion, benefits, health and other insurances, subsidies, free school meals, rural employment guarantee), was approximately fourteen Crore#Money, lakh crore rupees ($192billion), which was 7.3% of gross domestic product (GDP).


Solidarity is a strong value of the French Social Protection system. The first article of the French Code of Social Security describes the principle of solidarity. Solidarity is commonly comprehended in relations of similar work, shared responsibility and common risks. Existing solidarities in France caused the expansion of health and social security.


The welfare state has a long tradition in Germany dating back to the industrial revolution. Due to the pressure of the workers' movement in the late 19th century, Reichskanzler Otto von Bismarck introduced the first rudimentary state Otto von Bismarck#Warfare state, social insurance scheme. Under Adolf Hitler, the National Socialist Program stated "We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare." Today, the social protection of all its citizens is considered a central pillar of German national policy. 27.6 percent of Germany's GDP is channeled into an all-embracing system of health, pension, German Statutory Accident Insurance, accident, longterm care and unemployment insurance, compared to 16.2 percent in the US. In addition, there are tax-financed services such as child benefits (''Kindergeld'', beginning at €192 per month for the first and second child, €198 for the third and €223 for each child thereafter, until they attain 25 years or receive their first professional qualification), and basic provisions for those unable to work or anyone with an income below the poverty line. Since 2005, reception of full unemployment pay (60–67% of the previous net salary) has been restricted to 12 months in general and 18 months for those over 55. This is now followed by (usually much lower) ''Arbeitslosengeld II (ALG II)'' or ''Sozialhilfe'', which is independent of previous employment (Hartz concept#Hartz IV, Hartz IV concept). , under ALG II, single adults receive up to €432 per month plus the cost of 'adequate' housing. ALG II can also be paid partially to employed persons to supplement a low work income.


The Italian welfare state's foundations were laid along the lines of the corporatist-conservative model, or of its Mediterranean variant. Later, in the 1960s and 1970s, increases in public spending and a major focus on universality brought it on the same path as social-democratic systems. In 1978, a universalistic welfare model was introduced in Italy, offering a number of universal and free services such as a National Health Fund.


Social welfare, assistance for the ill or otherwise disabled and for the old, has long been provided in Japan by both the government and private companies. Beginning in the 1920s, the government enacted a series of welfare programs, based mainly on European models, to provide medical care and financial support. During the postwar period, a comprehensive system of social security was gradually established.

Latin America


The 1980s, marked a change in the structure of Latin American social protection programs. Social protection embraces three major areas: social insurance, financed by workers and employers; social assistance to the population's poorest, financed by the state; and labor market regulations to protect worker rights.Barrientos, A. and Claudio Santibanez. (2009).
New Forms of Social, Assistance and the Evolution of Social Protection in Latin America
. Journal of Latin American Studies. Cambridge University Press 41, 1–26
Although diverse, recent Latin American social policy has tended to concentrate on social assistance. The 1980s, had a significant effect on social protection policies. Prior to the 1980s, most Latin American countries focused on social insurance policies involving formal sector workers, assuming that the informal sector would disappear with economic development. The economic crisis of the 1980s and the liberalization of the labor market led to a growing informal sector and a rapid increase in poverty and inequality. Latin American countries did not have the institutions and funds to properly handle such a crisis, both due to the structure of the social security system, and to the previously implemented structural adjustment policies (SAPs) that had decreased the size of the state. New Welfare programs have integrated the multidimensional, social risk management, and capabilities approaches into poverty alleviation. They focus on income transfers and service provisions while aiming to alleviate both long- and short-term poverty through, among other things, education, health, security, and housing. Unlike previous programs that targeted the working class, new programs have successfully focused on locating and targeting the very poorest. The impacts of social assistance programs vary between countries, and many programs have yet to be fully evaluated. According to Barrientos and Santibanez, the programs have been more successful in increasing investment in human capital than in bringing households above the poverty line. Challenges still exist, including the extreme inequality levels and the mass scale of poverty; locating a financial basis for programs; and deciding on exit strategy, exit strategies or on the long-term establishment of programs.

1980s impacts

The economic crisis of the 1980s led to a shift in social policies, as understandings of poverty and social programs evolved (24). New, mostly short-term programs emerged. These include: * Argentina: ''Jefes y Jefas de Hogar'', Asignación Universal por Hijo * Bolivia: ''Bonosol'' * Brazil: ''Bolsa Escola and Bolsa Familia'' * Chile: ''Chile Solidario'' * Colombia: ''Solidaridad por Colombia'' * Ecuador: ''Bono de Desarrollo Humano'' * Honduras: ''Red Solidaria'' * Mexico: ''Prospera'' (earlier known as ''Oportunidades'') * Panama: ''Red de Oportunidades'' * Peru: ''Juntos''

Major aspects of current social assistance programs

* Conditional cash transfer (CCT) combined with service provisions. Transfer cash directly to households, most often through the women of the household, if certain conditions are met (e.g. children's school attendance or doctor visits) (10). Providing free education, free schooling or healthcare is often not sufficient, because there is an opportunity cost for the parents in, for example, sending children to school (lost labor power), or in paying for the transportation costs of getting to a health clinic. * Household. The household has been the focal point of social assistance programs. * Target the poorest. Recent programs have been more successful than past ones in targeting the poorest. Previous programs often targeted the working class. * Multidimensional. Programs have attempted to address many dimensions of poverty at once. Chile Solidario is the best example.

New Zealand

New Zealand is often regarded as having one of the first comprehensive welfare systems in the world. During the 1890s a Liberal government adopted many social programmes to help the poor who had suffered from a long economic depression in the 1880s. One of the most far reaching was the passing of tax legislation that made it difficult for wealthy sheep farmers to hold onto their large land holdings. This and the invention of refrigeration led to a farming revolution where many sheep farms were broken up and sold to become smaller dairy farms. This enabled thousands of new farmers to buy land and develop a new and vigorous industry that has become the backbone of New Zealand's economy to this day. This liberal tradition flourished with increased enfranchisement for indigenous Māori people, Maori in the 1880s and women. Pensions for the elderly, the poor and war casualties followed, with State-run schools, hospitals and subsidized medical and dental care. By 1960, New Zealand was able to afford one of the best-developed and most comprehensive welfare systems in the world, supported by a well-developed and stable economy.


In Philippines, social welfare is divided into two. The first one is called Social Security System (SSS) and the other one is called Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). Social Security System or SSS is a social insurance program for workers in private sector. Individuals who are self-employed or not working can also apply to be protected under SSS programme. SSS provide benefits for unemployment, death, funeral, maternity leave, disabilities and many more. Members of SSS who experienced accident or death due to work activity, can also claim for double compensation under the Employees' Compensation (EC) programme. SSS also allows its members to apply for salary loans, based on their monthly salary and calamity loan, if their place is declared as "state of calamity" by the government. SSS also have two voluntary saving programs, PESO Fund and Flexi Fund to help prepare their members with a stable income for retirement. Government servants are protected under the Government Service Insurance System or GSIS. Just like SSS, GSIS also provide their members with retirement benefits, life insurance and employee compensation.


South Africa


Sub-Saharan Africa


Social welfare in Sweden is made up of several organizations and systems dealing with welfare. It is mostly funded by taxes, and executed by the public sector on all levels of government as well as private organizations. It can be separated into three parts falling under three different ministries; social welfare, falling under the responsibility of Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (Sweden), Ministry of Health and Social Affairs; education, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Research (Sweden), Ministry of Education and Research and labor market, under the responsibility of Ministry of Employment (Sweden), Ministry of Employment. Government pension payments are financed through an 18.5% pension tax on all taxed incomes in the country, which comes partly from a tax category called a public pension fee (7% on gross income), and 30% of a tax category called employer fees on salaries (which is 33% on a netted income). Since January 2001, the 18.5% is divided in two parts: 16% goes to current payments, and 2.5% goes into individual retirement accounts, which were introduced in 2001. Money saved and invested in government funds, and individual retirement account, IRAs for future pension costs, are roughly five times annual government pension expenses (725/150). Viewing Swedish welfare more broadly, it emerges as highly-rated in many standard international comparisons of welfare or well-being (e.g. World Economic Forum 2020). However, some Nordic-based welfare and gender researchers have argued that such assessments, based on conventional welfare/well-being criteria, may to some extent over-privilege Sweden (and other Nordic countries) in terms of, for instance, gender and racial equality. For example, they suggest that if one takes a broader perspective on well-being incorporating issues associated with bodily integrity or bodily citizenship (Pringle 2011), then some major forms of men’s domination and/or white privilege can be seen to still stubbornly persist in the Nordic countries, e.g. business, violence to women, sexual violence to children, the military, academia and religion (Hearn and Pringle 2006; Hearn et al. 2018; Pringle 2016).

United Kingdom

;UK Government welfare expenditure 2011–12: * State pension (46.32%) * Housing Benefit (10.55%) * Disability Living Allowance (7.87%) * Pension Credit (5.06%) * Income Support (4.31%) * Housing Benefit, Rent rebates (3.43%) * Attendance Allowance (3.31%) * Jobseeker's Allowance (3.06%) * Incapacity Benefit (3.06%) * Council Tax Benefit (3%) * Other (10.03%) The United Kingdom has a long history of welfare, notably including the English Poor laws which date back to 1536. After various reforms to the program, which involved workhouses, it was eventually abolished and replaced with a modern system by laws such as the National Assistance Act 1948. In more recent times, comparing the Cameron–Clegg coalition's United Kingdom government austerity programme, austerity measures with Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (United Kingdom), the Opposition's, the ''Financial Times'' commentator Martin Wolf commented that the "big shift from Labour... is the cuts in welfare benefits." The government's austerity programme, which involves reduction in government policy, has been linked to a rise in food banks. A study published in the ''British Medical Journal'' in 2015 found that each one percentage point increase in the rate of Jobseeker's Allowance claimants sanctioned was associated with a 0.09 percentage point rise in food bank use. The austerity programme has faced opposition from disability rights groups for disproportionately affecting disabled people. The Under-occupancy penalty, "bedroom tax" is an austerity measure that has attracted particular criticism, with activists arguing that two-thirds of council houses affected by the policy are occupied with a person with a disability.

United States

In the United States, depending on the context, the term "welfare" can be used to refer to Means test, means-tested cash benefits, especially the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program and its successor, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant, or it can be used to refer to all means-tested programs that help individuals or families meet basic needs, including, for example, health care through Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food and nutrition programs (SNAP). It can also include Social Insurance programs such as unemployment benefits, Unemployment Insurance, Social Security (United States), Social Security, and Medicare (United States), Medicare. AFDC (originally called Aid to Dependent Children) was created during the Great Depression to alleviate the burden of poverty for families with children and allow widowed mothers to maintain their households. The New Deal employment program such as the Works Progress Administration primarily served men. Prior to the New Deal, poverty reduction, anti-poverty programs were primarily operated by private charities or state or local governments; however, these programs were overwhelmed by the depth of need during the Depression. The United States has no national program of cash assistance for non-disabled poor individuals who are not raising children. Until early in the year of 1965, the news media was conveying only whites as living in poverty however that perception had changed to blacks. Some of the influences in this shift could have been the civil rights movement and urban riots from the mid 60s. Welfare had then shifted from being a White issue to a Black issue and during this time frame the war on poverty had already begun. Subsequently, news media portrayed stereotypes of Blacks as lazy, undeserving and welfare queens. These shifts in media don't necessarily establish the population living in poverty decreasing. In 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act changed the structure of Welfare payments and added new criteria to states that received Welfare funding. After reforms, which President Clinton said would "end Welfare as we know it", amounts from the federal government were given out in a flat rate per state based on population. Each state must meet certain criteria to ensure recipients are being encouraged to work themselves out of Welfare. The new program is called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).Characteristics and Financial Circumstances of TANF RecipientsFiscal Year 2010
. United States Department of Health and Human Services.
It encourages states to require some sort of employment search in exchange for providing funds to individuals, and imposes a five-year lifetime limit on cash assistance. In FY 2010, 31.8% of TANF families were white, 31.9% were African-American, and 30.0% were Hispanic. According to the United States Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau data released 13 September 2011, the nation's Poverty in the United States, poverty rate rose to 15.1% (46.2 million) in 2010, up from 14.3% (approximately 43.6 million) in 2009 and to its highest level since 1993. In 2008, 13.2% (39.8 million) Americans lived in relative poverty.Poverty rate hits 15-year high
. Reuters. 17 September 2010
In a 2011 op-ed in ''Forbes'', Peter Ferrara stated that, "The best estimate of the cost of the 185 federal means tested Welfare programs for 2010 for the federal government alone is nearly $700billion, up a third since 2008, according to the Heritage Foundation. Counting state spending, total Welfare spending for 2010 reached nearly $900billion, up nearly one-fourth since 2008 (24.3%)." California, with 12% of the U.S. population, has one-third of the nation's welfare recipients. In FY 2011, federal spending on means-tested welfare, plus state contributions to federal programs, reached $927billion per year. Roughly half went to families with children, most of which are headed by a single parent. The United States has also typically relied on charitable giving through non-profit agencies and fundraising instead of direct monetary assistance from the government itself. According to Giving USA, Americans gave $358.38billion to charity in 2014. This is rewarded by the United States government through tax incentives for individuals and companies that are not typically seen in other countries.


The welfare-to-work intervention programme is unlikely to have any impacts on the mental and physical health of lone parents and children. Even when the employment and income rates were higher in this group of people, the poverty rate was high which could lead to persistently high rates of depression whether they were in the programme or not. Income transfers can be either conditional cash transfer, conditional or unconditional cash transfer, unconditional. Conditionalities are sometimes criticized as being paternalism, paternalistic and unnecessary. A 2008 study by welfare economist and Brown University Professor Allan M. Feldman suggests that welfare can achieve both competitive equilibrium and Pareto efficiency in the market. Though, different points of Pareto efficiency are more fair to some than others. Some opponents of welfare argue that it affects work incentives.


According to a 2012 review study, whether a welfare program generates public support depends on: * whether the program is universal or targeted towards certain groups * the size of the social program benefits (larger benefits incentivize greater mobilization to defend a social program) * the visibility and traceability of the benefits (whether recipients know where the benefits come from) * the proximity and concentration of the beneficiaries (this affects the ease by which beneficiaries can organize to protect a social program) * the duration of the benefits (longer benefits incentivize greater mobilization to defend a social program) * the manner in which a program is administered (e.g. is the program inclusive, does it follow principles?)

See also

* Basic income * Contingencies fund * Economic, social and cultural rights * Yung-Ping Chen#Financing and benefit structure of Social Security, Financing and benefit structure * Human Poverty Index * Human security * List of countries by Social Progress Index * List of countries by social welfare spending * Poverty reduction * Social democracy * Social liberalism * Social policy * Social safety net * The Fourth Pillar, The Four Pillars * Welfare economics * Welfare reform * Welfare rights * Welfare trap * Workfare



Other sources

* * Sheldon Danziger, Robert Haveman, and Robert Plotnick (1981). "How Income Transfer Programs Affect Work, Savings, and the Income Distribution: A Critical Review", ''Journal of Economic Literature'' 19(3), pp.975–1028. * * Steven N. Durlauf et al., ed. (2008) ''The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics'', 2nd Edition: :"social insurance" by Stefania Albanesi
:"social insurance and public policy" by Jonathan Gruber (economist), Jonathan Gruber]
:"Welfare state" by Assar Lindbeck
* Nadasen, Premilla, Jennifer Mittelstadt, and Marisa Chappell, ''Welfare in the United States: A History with Documents, 1935–1996''. (New York: Routledge, 2009). 241 pp. * Samuel Lézé, "Welfare", in : Andrew Scull, J. (ed.), ''Cultural Sociology of Mental Illness'', Sage, 2014, pp.958–60 * Alfred de Grazia, with Ted Gurr: ''American Welfare'', New York University Press, New York (1962) *
Review by Barrett Lyons in ''Social Work'' Vol.7 Issue2, p.112
* Alfred de Grazia, ed. ''Grass roots private welfare: winning essays of the 1956 national competition of the Foundation for voluntary Welfare'', New York University Press, New York 1957.

External links

International Social Security Review

OECD Social Expenditure database (SOCX) Website
{{Authority control Welfare, Public economics Government aid programs Social security, Welfare economics Social systems