Welfare programs are the programs that have been undertaken by the government in the United States for providing assistance to underemployed and unemployed. Several features are attributable from the social welfare program in industrialized economies such as America. However, there is variation in the detail that matters for the policy of government and concerning the effects of such programs in the economy and the individual. The most important dimension relating to the important dimension of the unemployment benefits program for the country are level of benefits, eligibility requirements and maximum benefits duration.
The social security program of unemployment insurance in the United States was established on 14th August, 1935. The fact that resulted in the protection of unemployment is the democratic form of society where large scale starvation are forced to be prevented. The social welfare program of America involves unemployment insurance where the individuals are safeguarded for a short period of time against distress after they are employed. Such program is designed only for compensating such individuals who are willing and able to work and they are unemployed without their fault. During the period of employment, plan of unemployment insurance set aside the contributions and the benefits are provided to the individual for the stipulated period of time.
Social security is a universal program because it is the social right of American citizens to participate in the program and thereby the program is not based on the financial needs of individuals. Such program is considered to be very effective anti-poverty program and with the help of social security, most of the recipients of the programs have been raised above the poverty line. The social insurance program of unemployment insurance is considered to be effective program for preventing poverty and the benefits of unemployment under this program last for maximum of two weeks. The eligibility for the unemployment benefits, amount contributed by the employer and the duration and amount of benefits is determined by the individual state and governed by the federal state. There is exclusion of poor from unemployment benefits if they quit the job voluntarily and is terminated from the job due to the misconduct. In addition to this, the individuals are prevented from qualifying of receiving unemployment benefits if they are spending their time in job training. This is so because such individuals are not immediately looking for the jobs and are not available immediately.
There are two major categories of cash support programs in the American social welfare and this comprised of public assistance and social insurances. The common name of public assistance is welfare and is based on individual’s financial needs and social insurance on other hand are based on the individual payroll contribution and prior earnings. Some of the social insurance program in the country is survivor, disability insurance, old age, workers compensation and survivors.
Workers compensation is the oldest social welfare program of the country, America and the program is intended to provide victim of work related injuries with medical care and cash, however, such benefits are provided to a limited extent along with compensating the survivor of fatal injury. In the recent time, some concerns has been raised by the federal government that the funds generated from the social security might not be able to generate enough money to fulfil their obligations in the 21st century.
Unemployment benefits provided by the social security program helps the workers to accept the job that are crucial for the economy by encouraging them and such encouragement is given despite the risk of layoffs. Such benefits enable workers to spend time searching for the job that fits to their skills while maintaining the consumption and protecting against the drop in income. Moreover, workers are protected from having to sell their assets and accepting the jobs that is below their qualification along with assisting the economy during the period of recession. Unemployment benefits help people in keeping them out of poverty by augmenting the income of household of low income.
Such benefit programs contribute significantly to the economy by improving the productivity of long run labour market and protecting the income of the workers after layoffs. All the benefits under these programs that are too generous are required to be guarded by the government and this would discourage the job searching. Furthermore, with the help of the social welfare programs, the risk of taking a job that would result in layoff is lowered with the help of existence of unemployment benefits and this particular benefit forms the entitlement effect of such program. It is demonstrated by the evidence from US that the effect of entitlement works in the direction as expected. People living in lower unemployment benefits area are likely to take the jobs below the eligibility criteria and people living in high unemployment benefit area are likely to take the jobs with the earnings exceeding minimum level required by eligibility criteria. Some of the negative effects arising from other sources are offset by the positive effect of the schemes of unemployment benefits. The maximum duration of the benefits received by the social welfare programs over the business cycle are uniquely changed by the business cycle.
Nonetheless, the social security system of the America have found to be seriously flawed with some of the key issues including influence on the economic growth, sustainability and system equity. The system of security system and the program is considered to be pay as u go system indicating that the social security benefits of the former works are paid by the employer and workers of today. Furthermore, the side effect of the unemployment benefits programs is that people receiving the benefits are encouraged to serve less intensively for a job. It is perhaps for two reasons, firstly, someone receiving benefits might gain less from finding any job during the period of maximum benefits and secondly, consumption of unemployed workers having few assets is reduced, even though there is the likelihood of earning income by eventually finding job.
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