Social safety nets, or"socioeconomic safetynets", are non-contributory transferprograms seeking toprevent the poor orthose vulnerable toshocks and povertyfrom falling below acertain poverty level.Safety net programscan be provided bythe public sector orby the private sector.
Cash transfers, Food-based programs such as supplementaryfeeding programs and foodstamps, vouchers, and coupons, In-kind transfers such as school supplies anduniforms, Conditional cash transfers, Price subsidies for food, electricity, or publictransport, Public works, Fee waivers and exemptions for healthcare, schooling and utilities.
Food-based safety net programssupport adequate consumption andcontribute to improving nutrition andsecuring livelihoods. They differ fromother safety net programs in that they aretied to the provision of food, eitherdirectly or through cash-like instruments(food stamps, coupons) that may be usedto purchase food.
Supplementary feeding programs provide adirect transfer of food to target households orindividuals. The food may be prepared and eatenon-site (e.g., in child feeding centers or atschools), or given as a dry ration to take home. School feeding programs encourage children’senrollment and improve their ability to payattention in class. Food for work (FFW) programs provide foodrations in exchange for a given amount of workdone. Emergency food distribution includes directprovision of food, supplementary feeding forvulnerable groups, and therapeutic feedingduring crises, emergencies and situations inwhich people are displaced. Food stamps, vouchers, and coupons are near-cash paper tokens targeted to poorhouseholdsthat they can use to purchase food atauthorized retail locations.
Safety nets are part of a broader povertyreduction strategy interacting with andworking alongside of social insurance;health, education, and financial services; theprovision of utilities and roads; and otherpolicies aimed at reducing poverty andmanaging risk.
Safety net programs can play four roles indevelopment policy: Safety nets redistribute income to the poorest andmost vulnerable, with an immediate impact onpoverty and inequality. Safety nets enable households to make productiveinvestments in their future that they may otherwisemiss, e.g. education, health, income generatingopportunities. Safety nets help households manage risk, at leastoffsetting harmful coping strategies and at mostproviding an insurance function which improveslivelihood options. Safety nets allow governments to make choices thatsupport efficiency and growth.
Welfare is the provision of aminimal level of well-being andsocial support for allcitizens, sometimes referred to aspublic aid. In most developedcountries, welfare is largelyprovided by the government, inaddition to charities, informal socialgroups, religious groups, and inter-governmental organizations.
The United States would be the onlyindustrialized country that went into theGreat Depression with no social insurancepolicies in place. It was not until 1935 thatsignificant, if conservative by Europeanstandards, social insurance policies werefinally instituted under Franklin D.Roosevelts New Deal. In 1938, the Fair LaborStandards Act, limiting the work week to 40hours and banning child labor for childrenunder 16, was passed over stiff congressionalopposition. The price of passage of the NewDeals Social Security and Fair Labor acts wasthe exclusion of domestic, agricultural, andrestaurant workers, who were largelyAfrican-American, from social securitybenefits and labor protections.
In the United States, Social Securityrefers to the Old-Age, Survivors, andDisability Insurance federal program. Theoriginal Social Security Act (1935) and thecurrent version of the Act, asamended, encompass several social welfareand social insurance programs.Social Security is currently estimated tokeep roughly 40 percent of all Americans age65 or older out of poverty. The SocialSecurity Administration is headquartered inWoodlawn, Maryland, just west of Baltimore.
Federal Old-Age (Retirement), Survivors, andDisability Insurance, Unemployment benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Health Insurance for Aged and Disabled(Medicare) Grants to States for Medical Assistance Programs(Medicaid) State Childrens Health Insurance Program(SCHIP) Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The earliest age at which (reduced) benefitsare payable is 62. Full retirement benefitsdepend on a retirees year of birth.
Children of a retired, disabled ordeceased worker receive benefits as a"dependent" or "survivor" if they are underthe age of 18, or as long as attending primaryor secondary school up to age 19 years, 2months; or are over the age of 18 and weredisabled before the age of 22.
A side effect of the Social Security program inthe United States has been the near-universaladoption of the programs identificationnumber, the Social Security number, as the defacto U.S. national identification number. Thegovernment originally stated that the SSN wouldnot be a means of identification, but currently amultitude of U.S. entities use the Social Securitynumber as a personal identifier. These includegovernment agencies such as the InternalRevenue Service, the military as well as privateagencies such as banks, colleges anduniversities, health insurance companies, andemployers.
In the U.S., programs that meet thesedefinitions include SocialSecurity, Medicare, the PBGC program, therailroad retirement program and state-sponsored unemployment insuranceprograms.
the benefits, eligibility requirements andother aspects of the program are defined bystatute; explicit provision is made to account for theincome and expenses (often through a trustfund); it is funded by taxes or premiums paid by (oron behalf of) participants (althoughadditional sources of funding may beprovided as well); the program serves a defined population, andparticipation is either compulsory or theprogram is heavily enough subsidized thatmost eligible individuals choose toparticipate.
Typical similarities between socialinsurance programs and private insuranceprograms include: Wide pooling of risks; Specific definitions of the benefits provided; Specific definitions of eligibility rules and theamount of coverage provided; Specific premium, contribution or tax ratesrequired to meet the expected costs of thesystem.
Typical differences between private insuranceprograms and social insurance programsinclude: Participation in private insurance programs isoften voluntary, The right to benefits in a private insuranceprogram is contractual, based on aninsurance contract, private insurance is fully funded, but this isnot always true.