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Social security system

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Social security system

This article is about the general concept of social wellbeing and systems that ensure this. For specific systems named "Social Security" and other uses, see Social Security.


Social security is a concept enshrined in Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality. In simple terms, the signatories agree that society in which a person lives should help them to develop and to make the most of all the advantages (culture, work, social welfare) which are offered to them in the country.[1]

Social security may also refer to the action programs of government intended to promote the welfare of the population through assistance measures guaranteeing access to sufficient resources for food and shelter and to promote health and well-being for the population at large and potentially vulnerable segments such as children, the elderly, the sick and the unemployed. Services providing social security are often called social services.

Terminology in this area in the United States is somewhat different to that in the rest of the English-speaking world. The general term for an action program in support of the well being of the population in the United States is welfare program and the general term for all such programs is simply welfare. In American society, the term welfare arguably has negative connotations. The term Social Security, in the United States, refers to a specific social insurance program for the retired and the disabled.

Social security may refer to:

  • social insurance, where people receive benefits or services in recognition of contributions to an insurance program. These services typically include provision for retirement pensions, disability insurance, survivor benefits and unemployment insurance.
  • services provided by government or designated agencies responsible for social security provision. In different countries, that may include medical care, financial support during unemployment, sickness, or retirement, health and safety at work, aspects of social work and even industrial relations.
  • basic security irrespective of participation in specific insurance programs where eligibility may otherwise be an issue. For instance assistance given to newly arrived refugees for basic necessities such as food, clothing, housing, education, money, and medical care.

History

In the Roman Empire, social welfare to help the poor was enlarged by the Emperor Trajan.[2] Trajan's program brought acclaim from many, including Pliny the Younger.[3]

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 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). Voluntary charity, along with prayer and repentance, is befriended to ameliorate the consequences of bad acts.

The Song dynasty (c.1000AD) government supported multiple forms of social assistance programs, including the establishment of retirement homes, public clinics, and pauper's graveyards [4]

According to Robert Henry Nelson, "The medieval Roman Catholic Church operated a far-reaching and comprehensive welfare system for the poor..."[5][6]

The concepts of welfare and pension were put into practice in the early Islamic law[7] of the Caliphate as forms of Zakat (charity), one of the Five Pillars of Islam, since the time of the Rashidun caliph Umar in the 7th century. The taxes (including Zakat and Jizya) collected in the treasury of an Islamic government were used to provide income for the needy, including the poor, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. According to the Islamic jurist Al-Ghazali (Algazel, 1058–1111), the government was also expected to store up food supplies in every region in case a disaster or famine occurred.[7][8] (See Bayt al-mal for further information.)

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 principally achieved through private giving or charity. In those early times, there was a much broader group considered to be in poverty as compared to the 21st century.

Early welfare programs in Europe included the English Poor Law of 1601, which gave parishes the responsibility for providing poverty relief assistance to the poor.[9] 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 Germany, introduced one of the first welfare systems for the working classes in 1883. In Great Britain the Liberal government of Henry Campbell-Bannerman and David Lloyd George introduced the National Insurance system in 1911,[10] a system later expanded by Clement Attlee. The United States did not have an organized welfare system until the Great Depression, when emergency relief measures were introduced under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Even then, Roosevelt's New Deal focused predominantly on a program of providing work and stimulating the economy through public spending on projects, rather than on cash payment.

Income maintenance

Main article: Unemployment benefits

This policy is usually applied through various programs designed to provide a population with income at times when they are unable to care for themselves. Income maintenance is based in a combination of five main types of program:

  • Social insurance, considered above
  • 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 discretion 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). See also, Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend.

Social protection

Social protection refers to a set of benefits available (or not available) from the state, market, civil society and households, or through a combination of these agencies, to the individual/households to reduce multi-dimensional deprivation. This multi-dimensional deprivation could be affecting less active poor persons (such as the elderly or the disabled) and active poor persons (such as the unemployed).

This broad framework makes this concept more acceptable in developing countries than the concept of social security. Social security is more applicable in the conditions, where large numbers of citizens depend on the formal economy for their livelihood. Through a defined contribution, this social security may be managed.

But, in the context of wide spread informal economy, formal social security arrangements are almost absent for the vast majority of the working population. Besides, in developing countries, the state's capacity to reach the vast majority of the poor people may be limited because of its limited resources. In such a context, multiple agencies that could provide for social protection is important for policy consideration. The framework of social protection is thus capable of holding the state responsible to provide for the poorest sections by regulating non-state agencies.

Collaborative research from the Institute of Development Studies debating Social Protection from a global perspective, suggests that advocates for social protection fall into two broad categories: 'instrumentalists' and 'activists'. 'Instrumentalists' argue that extreme poverty, inequality and vulnerability, is dysfunctional in the achievement of development targets (such as the MDGs). In this view social protection is about putting in place risk management mechanisms that will compensate for incomplete or missing insurance (and other) markets, until a time that private insurance can play a more prominent role in that society. 'Activist' arguments view the persistence of extreme poverty, inequality and vulnerability, as symptoms of social injustice and structural inequality and see social protection as a right of citizenship. Targeted welfare is a necessary step between humanitarianism and the ideal of a 'guaranteed social minimum' where entitlement extends beyond cash or food transfers and is based on citizenship, not philanthropy.[11]

National and regional systems

General

National

Regional

See also

References

Further reading

  • Modigliani, Franco. Rethinking pension reform / Franco Modigliani, Arun Muralidhar. Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • Muralidhar, Arun S. Innovations in pension fund management / Arun S. Muralidhar. Stanford, Calif.; [Great Britain] : Stanford Economics + Finance, c2001.
  • "The Three Pillars of Wisdom? A Reader on Globalization, World Bank Pension Models and Welfare Society" (Arno Tausch, Editor). Nova Science Hauppauge, New York, 2003
  • ISBN 978-3-8383-0672-8
  • 'Reforming European Pension Systems' (Arun Muralidhar and Serge Allegreza (eds.)), Amsterdam, NL and West Lafayette, Indiana, USA: Dutch University Press, Rozenberg Publishers and Purdue University Press

External links

  • International Social Security Association
  • International Social Security Review
  • GESS - Knowledge sharing platform on the extension of social security
  • World Bank
  • World Bank Institute
  • Overseas Development Institute
  • Online guide to basic social protection concepts and issues
  • Further resources on social protection (particularly in reference to developing countries) are available on the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre's topic guide on social protection
  • Arno Tausch (2005) ‚World Bank Pension reforms and development patterns in the world system and in the "Wider Europe". A 109 country investigation based on 33 indicators of economic growth, and human, social and ecological well-being, and a European regional case study'. A slightly re-worked version of a paper, originally presented to the Conference on "Reforming European pension systems. In memory of Professor Franco Modigliani. 24 and 25 September 2004", Castle of Schengen, Luxembourg Institute for European and International Studies
  • OECD - Social Expenditure database (SOCX) Website
  • Guardian Special Report - State Benefits

cs:Sociální zabezpečení lt:Socialinė apsauga pt:Seguridade social ru:Социальная защита

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