What is a 'Social Welfare System '

A social welfare system provides assistance to needy individuals and families. The types and amount of welfare available to individuals and families vary depending on the country, state or region. In the United States, the federal government provides grants to each state through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

BREAKING DOWN 'Social Welfare System '

Social welfare systems assistance to individuals and families through programs such as health care, food stamps, unemployment compensation, housing assistance and child care assistance. In the United States, a case worker is assigned to each individual or family applying for benefits to determine and confirm the applicant's needs.

The benefits available to an individual vary by state. Eligibility is determined based on factors surrounding the person’s financial status and how it relates to the minimum acceptable levels within a particular state. The factors involved can include the size of the family unit, current income levels or an assessed disability.

Within each state, social welfare systems may go by different names, but they often serve similar functions. This can cause confusion when attempting to compare one state's program to another. Additionally, the requirements to qualify also vary, depending on the poverty line in a particular state. This allows for adjustments based on items such as cost of living that are not standardized across the country.

Types of Benefits for Families

Available benefits generally cover assistance for food, housing, child care and medical care. In the case of TANF, federal funds are provided to the states for distribution. These funds may be used for cash assistance, allowing a household to spend the funds as it deems necessary to meet its needs and obligations.

Some available housing benefits go beyond locating suitable and affordable properties and providing housing cost assistance. A household may qualify for assistance to complete certain energy efficiency upgrades. It may also receive funds to help pay utility bills.

Benefits around health and nutrition can include access to affordable medical care. Food and nutrition programs may supply funds, often referred to as food stamps, to provide easier access to food in general. Additional nutritional assistance through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program provides food-specific benefits to ensure pregnant women and young children have access to healthy food options to promote growth and development.

Other Benefits

Other programs that are parts of the social welfare system include disaster relief assistance, educational assistance, agricultural loans and services specifically for veterans.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Welfare

    Welfare is a government program which provides financial aid ...
  2. Welfare State

    A Welfare State is a concept of government in which the state ...
  3. Welfare Economics

    Welfare economics focuses on the optimal allocation of resources ...
  4. Assisted Living

    Assisted living is a type of housing facility for the elderly ...
  5. Virtual Assistant

    A virtual assistant is an independent contractor who provides ...
  6. Social Security

    Social Security is a part of a social insurance and welfare program ...
Related Articles
  1. Insights

    Is It Time for a Universal Basic Income?

    Read our detailed history and learn why the old dream of a universal basic income is back on the minds of the public, politicians, Elon Musk and more.
  2. Personal Finance

    How Minimum Wage Impacts Unemployment

    We explain how the minimum wage affects unemployment, public assistance, and the economy overall.
  3. Insurance

    How To Apply For Unemployment Insurance

    Unemployment compensation is a federal program administered by each state. Here's how to connect to your state's unemployment office and what to expect.
  4. Financial Advisor

    7 Ways Baby Boomers Can Financially Assist Parents

    To help relieve some of the pressure that comes with caregiving, here are seven ways Boomers can financially assist elderly parents.
  5. Retirement

    8 Types of Americans Who Won't Get Social Security

    Most Americans eventually get Social Security retirement benefits. Those who don't need a solid Plan B.
  6. Retirement

    Social Security Benefits for Dependents

    A child may be eligible to receive part of a parent's Social Security benefits in three ways.
  7. Insurance

    Selecting The Right Mix Of Insurance Benefits

    Choosing employee benefits involves weighing the probability you will need them against taxes and cost.
  8. Retirement

    Social Security Disability Benefits vs. Retirement Benefits

    Here's how to know if you should file for Social Security retirement vs. disability benefits.
  9. Investing

    Alphabet Boosts Its Rival to Amazon’s Alexa

    Alphabet's Google Assistant Investments will target strategic investments for its virtual assistant.
  10. Personal Finance

    Which Family Financial Sacrifices Are Worth It?

    What types of spending yield the greatest benefit for families?
Trading Center