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Main Dictionary W


Welfare, or commonly known as social welfare, is a variety of government social programs that aims to help people in need. Mostly it’s financial aid, but other kinds of aid also exist. Whenever groups of people or individuals aren’t able to tackle hard times in their life, the government may provide help to them. Usually money for exercising these programs is taken from taxes. Thus, people in need get their aid monthly or every two weeks. There are several main purposes of welfare, sometimes it helps to get the education, sometimes it refers to improving standards of living.

Who may be assigned to a Welfare program

Usually welfare programs vary depending on an individual’s needs, thus, there are a wide range of providing help. For example, it may be medical help or ration stamps, it also can be money that is received by people who lost their job (unemployment compensation) and help with the children. In some countries there is a special person who is in charge of each family in need, the person identifies what exactly the family needs and confirms it. 

However, it can’t be said that welfare programs range only by an individual’s needs. They also vary depending on the country, individual’s financial state, number of family members, the level of earnings or someone’s disability. In short, although welfare programs may have distinct names and different requirements to apply, all of them pursue the only aim, it’s to help people in need. The variety also helps to avoid the only and for this reason inconvenient standard. 

Types of Welfare programs in different countries

United States of America. Although in comparison with other advanced countries there aren’t many welfare programs in the U.S., there are some:

  • Medicaid. The program provides health insurance. It’s aimed to help people (pregnant women, disabled, elderly) whose income is below a certain level.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program provides food stamps for families with low income. These stamps let people buy food for a lower price.
  • Housing choice voucher program. The program is intended to help people (disabled, elderly and families with low income) to get rental homes in safe neighborhoods in the private market. 

France. In 2019 France remained a country that spent more than 30 percent of its GDP (Gross domestic product) on social services. There are several agencies that take care of different branches:

  • The French National Health Insurance Fund (Caisse nationale de l'Assurance Maladie or CNAM) provides help for sick people, pregnant women and disabled.
  • The French National Old-Age Insurance Fund (Caisse nationale d'assurance vieillesse or CNAV) takes care of retirement related issues. 
  • The French National Family Allowance Fund (Caisse nationale d’allocations familiales or CNAF) provides payments for a child's needs.

Japan. Japan has a welfare system that covers basic living expenses, health insurance etc. There are two parts of the Japanese welfare system:

  • Universal medical care. It provides access to hospitals at a very affordable price.
  • Comprehensive day care. This, for instance, may help working mothers providing them nurseries for an affordable price.  

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