Social Security

Social security is a concept enshrined in Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality. In simple term, this means that the signatories agree that society in which a person lives should help them to develop and to make the most of all the advantages (culture, work, social welfare) which are offered to them in the country.

Social security may also refer to the action programs of government intended to promote the welfare of the population through assistance measures guaranteeing access to sufficient resources for food and shelter and to promote health and wellbeing for the population at large and potentially vulnerable segments such as children, the elderly, the sick and the unemployed. Services providing social security are often called social services.

Terminology in this area in the United States is somewhat different to that in the rest of the English speaking world. The general term for an action program in support of the well being of the population in the United States is welfare program and the general term for all such programs is simply welfare. In American society, the term welfare arguably has negative connotations. The term Social Security in the United States refers to a specific social insurance program for the retired and the disabled.

Social security may refer to:

  • social insurance, where people receive benefits or services in recognition of contributions to an insurance program. These services typically include provision for retirement pensions, disability insurance, survivor benefits and unemployment insurance.
  • services provided by government or designated agencies responsible for social security provision. In different countries this may include medical care, financial support during unemployment, sickness, or retirement, health and safety at work, aspects of social work and even industrial relations.
  • basic security irrespective of participation in specific insurance programs where eligibility may otherwise be an issue. For instance assistance given to newly arrived refugees for basic necessities such as food, clothing, housing, education, money, and medical care.

Read more about Social Security:  History, Income Maintenance, Social Protection, National and Regional Systems

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