What is Social Welfare? Definition, Services, Characteristics, Examples

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It includes activities and services which are basically provided by government, volunteers, and non-profit organizations (NPO). To help needy individuals who are unable to care for themselves and from this there will be downfall in social problems.

Definitions of Social Welfare 

Social welfare is “the organized system of social services and institutions, designed to help people to attain satisfying standards of health and personal and social relationships. It permits them to develop their full capacities and to promote their well-being in harmony with the needs of their community.”Friedlander

Encyclopaedia Britannica defines social welfare as “a system of laws through which a government attempts to protect and promote the economic and social welfare of its citizens. Usually it is  based on various forms of social insurance against unemployment, accident, illness, and old age.”

Wayne Vasey Notes that social welfare includes two main characteristics – (a) the utilization of welfare measures to support or strengthen the family as a basic social institution through which needs are met, and (b) the intent to strengthen structures for the delivery of services.

Social welfare as “a society’s governmental and non-governmental efforts to help its members function more effectively as individuals and as participants in organized social structures.”Ronald C. Federico

  1. Who receives welfare services?
    • People who need help are the recipients of welfare services.
  2. Who is more deserving of help?
    • Certain criteria determine who is eligible for welfare services.
  3. How much help is provided?
  4. Who pays for the services?
    • The funding for welfare services can come from the government through taxes or contributions from recipients.

Characteristics of Welfare Services

  • Risks to be protected against
  • Population covered
  • Eligibility criteria
  • Levels of benefits
  • Manner of financing

Risks to be Protected Against: These include issues such as disaster, economic hardship, and other challenges that individuals may face.

Population Covered: Basically Welfare services typically target specific groups or demographics within a population who are in need of help or assistance.

Eligibility Criteria: Criteria are established to determine who is deserving of receiving welfare services. And it is based on various factors such as income level, family size, and specific needs.

Levels of Benefits: Welfare services may provide different levels of support, ranging from short-term assistance to long-term benefits, depending on the individual’s case.

Manner of Financing: Funding for welfare services can come from various sources. Basically few are including government funding through taxes, contributions from recipients, or a combination of both.

Meaning of Welfare: Welfare is the condition or well-being of a society, achieved when social problems are managed, human needs are met, and social opportunities are maximized.

Social Problem: Any difficulty or misbehavior affecting a large number of people. That needs to be addressed through social intervention.

Example of Social Welfare Policies

In India, social welfare policies include:

  1. Providing pensions for elderly citizens who are unable to support themselves financially.
  2. Offering scholarships and educational grants to students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
  3. Implementing healthcare programs to ensure access to medical services for all citizens.
  4. Distributing food and essential goods to those in need during festivals or times of crisis.
  5. Granting land or housing assistance to the poor and slum dwellers to improve their living conditions.

Labour and Social Welfare

Labor welfare is an important element of social welfare. As it focuses on improving the well-being, happiness, satisfaction, conservation, and development of human resources within the labor force. 

Here are some key points highlighting the relationship between labor and social welfare:

Harmonious Relations: Labor welfare activities are based on the philosophy that the success of industrial development depends on harmonious relations and cooperation between labor and management. This collaboration is very important for the overall growth of the organization.

Employee Satisfaction: Welfare services aims to increase the social, moral, economic, and intellectual conditions of workers. By addressing the needs and concerns of employees, labor welfare contributes to their satisfaction. Which in return positively impacts their productivity.

State Role: The concept of social welfare, including labor welfare. It is closely linked to the role of the State in society. Governments can also play a significant role in setting regulations, standards, and policies to ensure the welfare of laborers and promote a fair and equitable working environment.

Contextual Variations: The implementation of labor welfare measures can vary widely based on factors such as time, region, industry, and cultural norms. Employers may adapt their welfare initiatives to meet the specific needs and challenges faced by their workforce in different contexts.

Long-Term Investment: Labor welfare is considered a necessary investment. Because it can lead to cost savings in the long run. And also provide employers with a stable and motivated labor force.

By utilising in the well-being of employees, organizations can create a more sustainable and productive work environment.

Fast Fact

  • Social welfare policies are intended to protect individuals from poverty and promote the general welfare of the population.
  • Social welfare programs can include cash transfers, social relief, and developmental services.
  • Social welfare programs can help vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, disabled individuals, and low-income families, by providing access to resources and support systems.
  • Social welfare programs can help create an environment where people can lead fulfilling lives by addressing basic needs such as food, shelter, healthcare, and education.
  • Social welfare programs can contribute to the overall well-being of society by growing social cohesion and solidarity.
  • Social welfare can include social (including pension) insurance, sick insurance, public policy related to unemployment and low income benefits, and health insurance.
  • According to a Harvard article, recent research suggests that the longer families receive stable and predictable support, the better they and their children do.

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