What is social welfare?
Social welfare refers to government or community initiatives that advance the well-being and support of individuals in need. It aims to provide assistance to the disadvantaged, ensuring access to basic necessities like healthcare, housing, and education. By encouraging equality and reducing poverty, social welfare enhances the overall quality of life for society.
Model of social welfare
There are four models of social welfare
- The familial model
- The Residual model
- The mixed economy model
- The model of state control
- The Familial Model
In the familial model, social welfare responsibilities primarily rest with the family and extended kinship networks. The idea is that families are expected to take care of their members in times of need, such as providing financial assistance, healthcare, and emotional support. This model is often associated with traditional societies where strong family bonds and community ties are prevalent.
- The Residual Model:
The residual model of social welfare is based on the principle of providing assistance as a last recourse. It believes that the market and personal actions should be the primary means of meeting welfare needs. Social welfare programs are noticed as a safety net, moderating only when individuals or families face severe difficulty or when the market fails to address certain needs enough.
- The Mixed Economy Model:
The mixed economy model combines elements of both state intervention and private industry. In this approach, the government cooperates with private organizations and businesses to provide social welfare services. The state provides a basic level of social security and public services, while private commodities and NGOs may supplement these efforts to address specific needs.
- The Model of State Control:
In the model of state control, the government takes a prominent and aggressive role in providing social welfare services. It establishes broad and universal social welfare programs to meet various needs, such as healthcare, education, housing, and unemployment benefits. The state takes on the responsibility of ensuring social equity and managing societal inequalities.
It’s important to note that different countries and regions may assume variations or combinations of these models, depending on their historical, cultural, and political contexts. Additionally, these models have their strengths and weaknesses, and the effectiveness of each model can be discussed based on their results and impact on society.
Modern social welfare
Before modern social welfare laws were enacted in Germany in the 1880s. As similar programs have been adopted in other countries, the trend has been toward a more extensive range in terms of both eligibility requirements and the nature of the risks insured against. A floor of minimum protection has come to be viewed as one of the government’s general responsibilities with respect to specific risks, and in many countries, the agreement holds In this perspective, society acknowledges its obligation to support individuals who cannot care for themselves, regardless of the reason. Therefore, social welfare is perceived and granted as a fundamental entitlement, not merely a response to immediate needs.
- Medical care programs
- Unemployment benefit programs
- Family allowance benefits
- Work injury compensation
- Public assistance
- Medical Care Programs:
Medical care programs are industries that provide healthcare services to individuals in need. These programs can be government-run or supported by the state, seeking to ensure access to essential medical services, treatments, and preventive care for the population. They contribute to overall public health and help alleviate financial burdens associated with healthcare costs.
- Unemployment Benefit Programs:
Unemployment benefit programs offer financial assistance to individuals who have lost their jobs and are actively desiring new employment. These programs provide temporary financial support to help individuals meet their basic needs during periods of joblessness, promoting stability and preventing extreme difficulty during an economic situation
- Family Allowance Benefits:
Family allowance benefits, also known as child benefits or family support, are financial aids provided to families with dependent children. The goal is to support parents in meeting the costs of raising children and ensuring their well-being. These benefits contribute to reducing child poverty and promoting the overall welfare of families.
- Work Injury Compensation:
Work injury compensation programs offer financial and medical support to employees who suffer injuries or illnesses related to their work. These programs provide a safety net for workers, ensuring that they receive appropriate medical care and financial help if they are unable to work due to work-related incidents.
- Public Assistance:
Public assistance, also known as social assistance or welfare, refers to different forms of support provided by the government to individuals or families encountering economic problems. It includes benefits such as food assistance, housing aid, and cash allowances. Public assistance programs aim to alleviate poverty, assist vulnerable populations, and promote social inclusion.
Traditional social welfare
The traditional welfare state is composed of tackling poverty and social disparities within a self-included economic and political context, centered around the nation-state. It focuses on domestic economic affairs and seeks to provide welfare benefits and support at the national level.
The five traditional social welfare models are:
- The Residual Model:
In the residual model, social welfare is seen as a safety net and intervention only occurs when individuals or families face extreme problems. The primary responsibility for welfare lies with the market and individual efforts. Government assistance is considered a last alternative, footing in when other mechanisms fail to address specific needs adequately.
- The Institutional Model:
The institutional model highlights social welfare as a right and a universal entitlement for citizens. It aims to provide wide services, such as healthcare, education, and housing, through government-funded institutions. Citizens are entitled to these services based on their membership in the society.
- The Corporatist Model:
The corporatist model involves close collaboration between the state, employers, and trade unions. Social welfare programs are jointly managed and funded by these stakeholders. It aims to promote social cohesion and stability by handling workers’ needs, such as unemployment benefits, pensions, and healthcare.
- The Distributive Model:
The distributive model focuses on reducing income inequalities and redistributing wealth to gain a more equitable society. Advanced tax and social insurance are major components, with the wealthy contributing more to support welfare programs that benefit the less wealthy.
- The Developmental Model:
The developmental model links social welfare with economic development. It aims to encourage the disadvantaged through targeted programs that promote education, skills training, and employment opportunities. By investing in human capital, this model aims to create sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
These models have been effective in shaping social welfare policies in various countries, and many modern welfare states include elements from multiple models to suit their specific contexts and societal values. Differences between modern and traditional social welfare
- Scope and Coverage:
– Traditional: Traditional social welfare was often limited in scope, managing specific needs or targeted groups, such as the elderly, disabled, or unemployed.
– Modern: Modern social welfare aims for more detailed coverage, providing a broader range of services and benefits to a larger amount of the population. It seeks to address a wider array of social and economic challenges.
- Approach to Poverty:
– Traditional: In the traditional model, social welfare primarily focused on relieving poverty through minimal safety nets and charitable assistance.
– Modern: The modern approach considers poverty as a difficult social issue needing multifaceted solutions. Modern social welfare highlights poverty reduction, social inclusion, and long-term empowerment through education, training, and employment support.
- Funding and Resources:
– Traditional: Traditional welfare systems often depended on government funds, charity, and voluntary contributions.
– Modern: Modern social welfare is typically supported through a combination of government taxation, social insurance contributions, and public-private partnerships, authorizing more sustainable and stable funding sources.
- Welfare Delivery and Technology:
– Traditional: Traditional welfare services were often provided through physical offices and paperwork, which could be time-consuming and unwieldy for beneficiaries.
– Modern: With technological advancements, modern social welfare increasingly utilizes digital platforms, online applications, and industrialization to simplify service delivery, making it more efficient and accessible to beneficiaries.
- Focus on Rights and Dignity:
– Traditional: Traditional social welfare sometimes stigmatizes beneficiaries, viewing assistance as a charitable circular.
Modern: The modern approach highlights social welfare as a fundamental right, ensuring that recipients are treated with dignity and respect. The focus is on providing support as a matter of entitlement and justice, reducing social stigma, and promoting social cohesion.
Overall, modern social welfare systems aim for a more inclusive, aggressive, and rights-based approach, aiming to address the root causes of social problems while promoting long-term well-being and equality in society.
As a passionate Researcher & writer at the Islamic University of Bangladesh, I like to write Traveling Guidance and Tips. Also a Search Engine Optimization Expert.