Asocial welfare policy refers to the social services that are offeredby the government to members of the public.It is very essential because it impacts on the lives of many groupsof people in a population by providing a significant safety net thatmitigates the social needs.The aim of a social welfare policy is to address the social needs ofthe people to promote the well-being of individuals and the society.It achieves this by providing a framework that promotes changethrough eliminating a particular issue of social concern that affectsmarginalized populations or people at risk. The United Statesgovernment has designed systems and institutions to offer services toindividuals to enhance development of their full capacities andimprove their well-being. The social welfare services are common inareas such as income maintenance, medical, education, personalwelfare, and housing. These services are provided to those members inthe society who are fully dependent on the support or help fromwell-wishers, non-governmental organizations and the governmentservices because they lack the capacity to support themselves. Thesocial welfare services provided by the US government include foodbenefits, Medicaid, Medicare, housing assistance and temporaryassistance offered to needy families (DiNitto& Johnson, 2015).
Thispaper seeks to discuss the Social Security Act of 1935 and itsimpact, values, beliefs, and the extent of its effect on the society.
IdentifiedProblem and its Definition
Economicinsecurity is a social problem that adversely affects the welfare andwell-being of the people in the society. It is defined as the lack ofincome or material possessions to meet the fundamental needs such asfood, shelter, and clothing. It affects the living standards ofindividuals in the current times and might extend to the future.Globally, only an estimate of about quarter of the population iseconomically secure in the present day society (Butler,2016).
CausesAttributed to Economic Security
Economicinsecurity is attributed to the Great Depression of 1929 thatimpacted negatively on the economy of America. It led to loss ofemployment and affected the old-age pensions thus resulting towidespread suffering of people within the American society. Itresulted in failure of banks and destroyed the retirement savings ofmany people in the United States. Unemployment,old age, disability and illness pose threats to the social well-beingand welfare in society. The old age population was the most affectedby the Great Depression where they were the first to lose employmentand they also faced challenges in securing jobs during the difficulttimes of the economy. The lack of old-age pension caused the elderlyto live in dependency due to insufficient income to supportthemselves.Old age, long-term illness, and disability poses greater risk ofpoverty among individuals in the society (Lehmann& Pickett, 2016).
Additionally,the causes of economic insecurity are attributed to unequaldistribution of social and economic resources. The social resourcesinclude education, housing and health services among others, andeconomic resources include infrastructure, employment and wealth.Uneven distribution of resources thus results in poverty. The stateof unemployment, lackof education or academic qualifications, one parent families andpeople living in disadvantaged communityincreases risk of poverty (Kashin,King & Soneji, 2015).
TheValues and Beliefs that makes Economic Insecurity be Defined as aSocial Problem
Economicinsecurity affects the social welfare of people that makes it bedefined as a social problem. It causes poverty, which affects thesocial values of the society. Poverty is perceived as a major socialproblem around the globe. Millions of people in the world are livingwithout food or access to better healthcare services. According tothe official Census report on poverty, in 2012, approximately 15% ofAmericans lived in poverty. The Hamilton Project highlighted that29.6% of the families in the US live within the poverty line of 150%and about half of the population live within the threshold of 250%(Ginsburg,2015).
Economicinsecurity consist the components of basic social security, which isdefined by access to fundamental human needs and social protection.These aspects make economic insecurity be defined as a socialproblem. It does not guarantee the income for an individual or familyin case of lose of employment or death of a family member who is abreadwinner thus increase high risk of poverty (Ginsburg,2015).
Moreover,economic insecurity has led to suffering of affected individuals inthe society. Income security is an important value in the society. Thus, lack of income or material possessions to meet the basic needsis regarded a social problem. Therefore, this value makes economicinsecurity a social issue of concern. The aftermath of the Greatdepression caused some workers who lost their jobs to face challengesin obtaining the required training to secure a meaningful employment.Other workers struggled with the long term employment that was on theincrease. The long-term challenges have affected most people inAmerica such as children being born in poor homes, many youthsdropping out of high schools and young adults have no jobs (O`Campo,Molnar, Ng, Renahy, Mitchell, Shankardass & Muntaner, 2015).
Ideologies,Theories, or Paradigms that are Relevant to the Social Welfare Systemand Why
Ideologies,theories or paradigms are important tools used to evaluate the socialneeds of the society and the social welfare policies and programs.The ideologies such as the liberal perspective are relevant to thesocial welfare system because it is believed the government isresponsible for providing support to the public to address theirsocial needs and improve their social welfare. Also, ideology such associal welfare services should be provided as a right and this meetthe elements of the social welfare system. Providing social welfareprograms as a right would ensure the social needs of all members ofthe society are met (Messner,2013).
Theoriessuch as industrialization and social welfare system are important tothe social welfare system because the expansion of industrializationgenerated the need for creation of more effective social welfarepolicies and programs. Industrialization generated changes in familyrelations, economics and communities that facilitated the need forchanging certain aspects in the social welfare policies that alignwith the U.S social security system (Messner,2013).
Paradigmsuch as social protection system is relevant to the social securitysystem because it consists of measures, rights and obligations thatenhance achievement of goals. For instance, the social protectionsystem provides income security to individuals, promotes access tohealth and other social services and works towards alleviatingpoverty (Messner,2013).
Whois now defining this issue as a social problem, and how is thatdifferent from the past?
Variousorganizations, institutions and individuals are defining economicinsecurity as a social problem because it affects the social welfareof the members of society. For instance, the social work institutionspoint out that economic insecurity contributes to poverty that causespeople to experience risks of adverse outcomes in their lives (Street& Desai, 2016).
Additionally,other groups of people defining economic insecurity in the currentsociety include philosophers, religious leaders and statesmen. Theyargue that social welfare means people in society are living a goodlife, however economic insecurity has deprived them of the good lifethey deserve (Street& Desai, 2016).
Thecurrent definition of economic insecurity as a social problem isdifferent from the past because, in the earlier period, socialproblem was defined based on a specific group of people such as theelderly, fatherless children, the disables, single parents and thosewho were unemployed. However, in the civilized society, economicinsecurity has been broadly defined to cover all members of societythough its focuses more on the poor, the needy and the disadvantagedgroup in society (Street& Desai, 2016).
Differencesin Current Conditions and Society
Thecurrent society is more civilized and industrialized compared to theprevious society that existed during historical periods. The factorsthat contributed to economic insecurity are slightly different fromthose that cause insecurity today. In the past, unemployment, povertyand other problems experienced by members of society were as a resultof the Great Depression. Although the effects of the Great Depressionhave remained in the American society till to date, there exist otherfactors that pose threats to economic security of individuals. Forinstance, the rampant economic discrimination in the current societyis a major factor leading to economic insecurity. The sociallydisadvantaged groups are mostly excluded from various opportunitiesavailable in the country such as employment, or education.Additionally, the increasing costs of living due to civilization haveaffected a significant percentage of the population thus pose risksto their economic security (Brown,2015).
Thegovernment and other non-governmental institutions have the power inregard to economic insecurity. The government has conducted certainchanges in the Social Security Act to meet the current social needsof the population. Moreover, the government has established variousprograms that are aimed at addressing the problem of economicinsecurity such as social insurance programs. The non-governmentalinstitutions have also developed programs to support the public andpromote social welfare in society (Street& Desai, 2016).
TheSocial Welfare Policy that is Relevant to the Problem and the role ofSocial Work
TheSocial Security Act of 1935 was established to assist specific groupsof people including the elderly, children and the disabled. It is aone of the social welfare policy designed to provide aid to thesocial needs of these groups of people following the GreatDepression. This Act was formulated during the rule of PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt. The government perceived the effects of GreatDepression such as unemployment, poverty, old age and fatherlesschildren, as a threat to the individual’s economic security and adanger to the future of the American life (Lehmann& Pickett, 2016).
Additionally,the Social Security Act as well provides aid to cater for the generalwelfare of the people in society by creating the Federal old-agebenefits system. Moreover, the Act allows various States to makeprovision to the specific population, public health and managingtheir unemployment situations. The Act as undergone a number ofchanges since its signing and thus changed their original aim ofproviding federal aid to those without employment or are unable towork. The Social Security Act provides the unemployed and theretirees’ benefits including public health services, unemploymentinsurance, and Maternal and Child Welfare (Chou,Parmar & Galinsky, 2016).
Socialwork has an important role to play towards eradicating problems ofunemployment, illness, disability, poverty and old age pensions.Social workers can provide assistance by organizing community townhall to address these problems. Additionally, they can write lettersto newspapers or articulate the problems of the people to thegovernment and urge them to meet the social needs and also meet withthe legislative representatives to discuss on the factors to beincorporated on the social welfare policies and programs to addressthese needs (Dominelli,2016).
Isthe problem adequately addressed by present social welfare policiesand programs?
Variousmeasures have been put in place to address the problem of economicinsecurity in the country. The Social Insurance Program wasintroduced in the Social Security Act of 1935 in title II. The SocialInsurance Program is currently focusing on providing strategies toresolve the problem of economic insecurity. It aims to providesolutions to economic insecurity from the original provisions of theSocial Security Act of 1935 but in the context of contemporaryindustrial societies (Telesetsky& He, 2016).
Thesocial insurance program functions by requiring individuals to makecontributions to the funding organizations managed by the government.These funds are meant to provide financial assistance to individualswhen they become unable to support themselves anymore. It employs theuse of the components of social welfare policy such as the principlesto ensure there are adequate benefits and equality in distribution ofincome among the specified populations (Rejda,2012).
Examplesof the current major socials insurance programs in the US includeUnemployment Insurance, Disability, Survivors and Old Age Insurance,and Workers Compensation. These insurances are commonly referred toas “Social Security” because is it believed to be a social rightand thus requires every citizen to take part in the program. Thefunding for Social Security are generated from the payroll tax anddistributed equally between the employee and the employer (Telesetsky& He, 2016).
Thedisability insurance provides financial aid to adults who are 18-64years and are unable to find meaningful employment. At 65 years, thedisability benefits that were provided to an individual, becomes anold age benefit. The survivors insurance caters for dependent widowsor widowers, the children who are below 18 years of age, anddependent parents. These groups receive benefits after the death ofan insured worker(Telesetsky& He, 2016).
Thefederal government provides public housing and Section 8 housing aidto middle and upper income families. The government generates fundsto meet the housing needs from the loans programs and tax policies.The housing support is mainly offered by the American Department ofHousing and Urban Development. The government provides subsidies forthe costs of construction of houses through the public housingprogram. The Section 8 program is used to provide federal housingsupport to the poor in the American society (Telesetsky& He, 2016).
Theunemployment insurance is designed to prevent poverty in the country.It consists of major programs that cover federal employees, veterans,and railroad workers. The unemployment insurance funding is generatedfrom the payroll tax of the employer. The self-employed, farmers anddomestic workers are not included in this insurance program.Moreover, only few of the poor populations are entitled to receivebenefits from the employment insurance. The workers compensation is asocial insurance program used to provide benefits such asrehabilitation services, medical care or finances to employees whoare victims of work-related injuries. Similarly, the program as welloffers compensation to survivors from fatal injuries (Telesetsky& He, 2016).
SuggestedApproaches to the Economic Insecurity
Thesuggested approaches to addressing the economic insecurity probleminclude the following: Adoption of a human rights framework would bean appropriate approach towards resolving the problem of economicinsecurity in the American society. For instance, a public healthframework can be implemented to facilitate access to quality healthcare to promote dignity, well-being and health of individuals in thepopulation (Ginsburg,2015).
Inaddition, the economic insecurity involves promotion of governmentaccountability. The U.S government should take the fullresponsibility of ensuring economic protection of its citizensagainst economic insecurity, which has become a huge burden to thecountry. The government can achieve this by collecting data onvarious issues such as unemployment, health, homelessness and thenumber of elderly in society, and establish an appropriate actionplan to address the results findings. The established action plan iseffective in contributing towards reduction of the risks to economicsecurity of an individual. Studies by Mau,Mewes and Schöneck (2012) indicatethat measurement is a key factor in tracking the level of economicinsecurity in a country while accountability promotes achievement oftargets for minimizing risks to economic security of individuals.Therefore, the government actors should take accountability byensuring adequate implementation of the action plan to addresseconomic insecurity (Ginsburg,2015).
Moreover,economic insecurity can be addressed by increasing publicparticipation in the processes of developing social welfare policiesand programs, their implementation and evaluation. The social welfarepolicies and programs impact directly on the public and theirinvolvement would results in development of effective policies thatwould contribute towards addressing the problem of economicinsecurity. The government can promote public participation bydeveloping and maintaining open avenues that would facilitateadvocating for the challenges that results from the threats ofeconomic insecurity (Kashin,King & Soneji, 2015).
Consequently,the problem of economic insecurity can be resolved through addressingvulnerability and discrimination. The disadvantaged populationswithin the American society experience discrimination in terms ofemployment and education opportunities, insurance programs andhealthcare thus making them more vulnerable to risks of economicinsecurity. Thus, developing a framework that would addressdiscrimination would enhance economic security of individuals. It isimportant for organizations to focus on understanding the causes ofdiscrimination and vulnerability to adequately address the problem(Kashin,King & Soneji, 2015).
Economicinsecurity is a major social problem in the United States and hasalso become a universal problem that has resulted in increasedpoverty rates. High poverty rates in the country have contributed toincreased suffering among the American populations.Thelack of income or material possessions to meet the fundamental needssuch as food, shelter, and clothing affects the living standards ofindividuals.Economic insecurity is attributed to the Great Depression of 1929that had significant adverse impact on the U.S economy. It led toloss of employment that resulted in increased poverty rates causingwidespread suffering of people within the American society. TheSocial Security Act of 1935 was established to address the economicinsecurity issue by providing support to the elderly, children andthe disabled. It aim was to meet the social needs of these populationto alleviate risks to the modern life.
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