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Welfare Benefits - Research Paper Example

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The social welfare program began in the United States in the 1930s as a way of ensuring that there was a type of social cover for the elderly citizens of the nation. It was a measure by the government to counter what were considered to be threats to the way of life in modern America…
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Welfare Benefits
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Download file to see previous pages Although it was meant to help members of the American society deal with the crisis, which was affecting them at the time, many of its opponents believed that what it proposed was socialism; something that they believed was not in line with the American way of life. During this period, the greater part of women and people from minority groups in American society were excluded from getting any remuneration from the unemployment insurance and pensions for the elderly. In recent times, however, there have been reforms to the program and each state has its own welfare system according to the needs of its people. Since its inception, the provisions of welfare have been changing often due to the worries brought about by the situations of the economy as well as the changing roles of gender and the integration of minority groups into the American mainstream. During the 1950s, there were debates that focused more on how adequate coverage could be provided, moving away from the focus on which groups of occupation could be included, as had been done before. Since then all the changes in Social Security have been attempts to bring about a balance between the provision of adequate protection as well as the promotion of equality while providing this security (Beland, 2008). When the original Social Security Act is compared to those of European countries during the same period, one will find that it does not include the range of programs that had been developed in these countries. This is because when this Act was formulated, it was done with the anticipation that any additional programs of social insurance and income support would be put in place later. Examples of such expected extensions are the providing of benefits for spouses and children, which was passed in 1939 and the passing of programs of assistance and insurance for the disabled people in the 1950s. The development of programs in other areas took more of a problem-solving and incremental approach. Hence, the Medicare and Medicaid programs were endorsed in 1965 as a response to specific medical care needs of the elderly in society and the professed insufficiency of medical care under public support (Social Security Bulletin, 2006). The introduction of the Food Stamp program in 1964 and its later extensive growth came as a response to the evidence that there was persistent hunger and malnutrition in some groups within the population despite the fact that the society was generally affluent. The Supplemental Security Income program was introduced in 1974 as a national minimum income guarantee for those people who were aged, blind, and disabled in society and this was to counteract the differences in the advantage levels and eligibility values appropriate to these people under the assistance programs. The Food Stamp program is available to individuals and families who are eligible for payments under the Supplemental Security Income Program and to those deprived persons and families who are not suitable for the latter program. Another characteristic of the development of social welfare policy in the United States is the considerable degree of decentralization that is displayed and a mechanism for this is the federal system of government, which divides responsibility among the federal, state, and local governments. Some of these programs are funded and administered by the federal government alone; others involve only the state, with or without the involvement of local governments; and finally, others involve all three levels of government. This federal structure serves three main purposes in this welfare policy and these are the dispersal of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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