Difference Between Social Security and Social Welfare

Ever since the evolution of human civilization, multiple groups have been formed for varied reasons. What started from ‘hunting in packs’ grew up into ‘governing institutions’ in the days to come.

Social welfare and social protection are two of the oldest and most fundamental government policies to cater to the needs of the public, mostly in distress.

Social Security vs Social Welfare

The difference between Social Security and Social Welfare is that social welfare is a transfer of cash or means from a group (mostly govt.) to those in need. Social protection on the other hand is more like an insurance program, where you reap the benefits of what you have been paying for.

Social Security vs Social Welfare

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSocial SecuritySocial Welfare
Meaning Provided by society to individuals. It guarantees income and health care services.Government programs secure the rights of the people against social and economic risks.
SuitabilitySuitable for all those who can contribute.Mostly suitable for workers, retired people, etc.
Funding Funded by the beneficiary. Partly by the government and employer.Funded by the government (state and center), at times by the employer.
Psychological effectConsidering that security is more like an extension, there is no major effect on the mental condition in this case.These schemes are generally for the less privileged in the society or unemployed. It might pave the way for complacency to creep in and can also develop inferiority complexes.
ExamplesScholarships and reservationsHealth, car, education insurance.

What is Social Welfare?

Social welfare is an umbrella term for several government policies. These policies shield the rights of people against economic and social risks.

The primary beneficiaries of these programs are the elderly, ill, unemployed, and women during pregnancy. Financing the coverages for the benefits of the people differ from country to country. 

Augustus, the first ruler of the Roman empire started ‘Cura Annonae’. In this scheme, grains and food products were provided to the citizens who couldn’t afford them. Emperor Trajan, the Song dynasty, and even the medieval Roman Catholic Churches enlarged social welfare.

Rashidun Caliph Umar provided money to the poor, elderly, and widows in the name of Zakat. Later on, it went on to become one of the pillars of Islam.

social welfare

What is Social Security?

Social security is a set of programs and policies which are brought in to reduce poverty and risks and promote labor markets and people’s capacity to protect themselves against loss of income. It is the security provided by society to individuals that guarantee income and healthcare services.

Although the services are open to all, social security is in place, especially for the sick, underprivileged, elderly people.

Most of the world’s population is kept at bay as far as social security is concerned. Only 20% of the total population has adequate access to social security.

Following the industrial boom, it was expected that laborers would eventually land up in the formal sector. The formal sector had more chance to be benefited from the policy of social security, although the opposite of it was to be true.

Examples of Social Security in the Modern World – 

  1. The national age-old pension scheme, financed by the Government of India and the subsequent state. This scheme benefits 1/4th of all the elderly in the country.
  2. The health insurance coverage was increased from 20% to full in Korea, in 1989.
  3. With a combination of free access to the healthcare system, Costa Rica achieved complete health coverage.

Statistics – 

  1. One in five people has adequate social security in the world.
  2. More than 50% of the world population do not have any type of social security.
  3. The informal sector in developing countries is a major source of employment. The social security conditions in these spheres are very poor.
social security

Major Differences Between Social Welfare and Social Security

  1. Social security primarily supports children, the elderly, people on parental and sick leave, unemployed, or those who have suffered from some occupational injury. Welfare provides a basic level of well being. It includes subsidized social services which include education, healthcare, housing, etc.
  2. Social security is an umbrella term to ensure safety on health and security grounds. Welfare, on the other hand, protects society as a whole by providing resources to low-income families.
  3. Social security is more of a ‘give and take’ process, where the individuals contributes from time to time and receive it back in the end. In some cases, the government also adds a regular stipend. Social welfare though is about providing unconditional assistance to those in need.
  4. People who opt for social security are actively involved in its monetary matters. In social welfare people who have opted for it or are supposed to be the beneficiaries of the same, do not have to be involved in the process. 
  5. Considering that social security is an extension of one’s savings, it doesn’t quite take a toll on a person’s mental health. Social welfare, on the other hand, can very well toss up with one’s mind. According to the International Journal of Epidemiology, people who don’t work and receive the benefits of social welfare programs are more likely to report short and long-term mental health issues.
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