The social assistance system in the United States
The majority of the American population today is middle class, that is, these are people who cannot be called rich or poor. Poverty in the United States of America is difficult to define: a poor American family is thought to be a family of three with a head income of $8,000 or less. However, in reality there are many more poor people whose incomes are below that amount.
In the United States, it is hard to be a poor person because he/she does not have the opportunity to earn a living, lives in conditions dangerous for his/her life and health. There is no opportunity to receive educational services or skilled health care, so the poor live much less than the middle or upper class. This situation concerns not only the American community but also any other society in the world. However, in this article, we will look at social security and its specifics specifically on the example of a society in the United States of America.
The formation of the institution of social security in this country begins around 1935 and it is built on the basis of two principles:
- Insurance of citizens;
Sometimes the principles combine with each other, and a new social program appears with separate conditions for the social security of citizens.
The Social Security program in the United States is based on the Social Security principle. Its essence lies in the fact that citizens from their total income pay taxes on both social security and medical care. Thus, in the event of an accident, a citizen has every right to use the accumulated funds to receive qualified assistance or support. The cases in which this accumulation can be used are provided for under American law.
Social security in the United States under the main federal program is implemented in two key areas:
- Directly social security, which is presented in the form of benefits (pension payments, benefits, subsidies, scholarships);
- Medical assistance, which includes hospitalization of a citizen, the provision of medical services, the provision of the necessary medicines.
With regard to the social security program, all types of benefits and opportunities for providing social assistance and support can be divided into several groups:
- Pension benefits for citizens;
- Disability allowance (disability, retirement age);
- Family benefits paid in connection with the action of social policy in relation to family, motherhood and childhood.
Social protection in the USA
We analyzed some of the programmatic aspects of social security and social protection in the previous part of this article. But there is another component of the American state system that is responsible for social protection – helping the poor. This system is quite new since it began to develop in the 60s of the 20th century. Unlike social insurance, it does not imply payments and deductions of taxes from citizens’ income. The criterion for obtaining this social protection is that a citizen needs help but cannot independently organize it since he/she does not have sufficient funds.
The tasks of the field of assistance are divided into the following:
- Firstly, this is the provision of a guaranteed income to a citizen, providing him/her with the opportunity to find a job in accordance with intellectual and physical capabilities;
- Secondly, support for families with children in need, which can be expressed in food, medical and housing assistance. Most often, assistance is provided free of charge, people can use things and products in accordance with their desires.
The Assistance Program for Families with Children provides assistance to families with many children with low-income single mothers with many children, and families without a breadwinner.
In a number of states, benefits in accordance with the outlined aspects of the program are provided to families where the head of the household is temporarily unemployed or has lost the ability to carry out activities due to illness and disability.
Thus, the American system has no specific features. It is quite developed because the standard of living in the United States of America is much higher than the standard of living in other developed countries. Nevertheless, the government today faces criticism from citizens, and the poverty level is insignificant but continues to grow every year. All this requires reforming and the adoption of new laws that will improve the social sphere and make it more adapted to modern conditions.
After the economic shifts that took place about 10 years ago, the economy is still mobile, it is characterized by fluctuations, in connection with which it is the poor part of the population that suffers. Nevertheless, citizens still rely on help, receive it exactly in the amount in which it is most needed. Insurance is the most popular and widespread method of social security, therefore, citizens are interested in carrying out effective and high-quality activities in order to get chances for a comfortable old age or security in the event of risks and accidents. Events, studies are held annually, in which the main demands of citizens and the possibilities for their implementation are determined. Hence the improvements in social and health insurance systems and welfare.