means-oriented social benefit

Welfare is an idea from economics and Social Security. The idea is that everyone should have a minimal living standard. People who cannot reach this standard will be supported, usually by the state. Using welfare, everyone has their basic needs covered. This idea is different from the idea of charity.

People waiting for relief checks during the Great Depression

Welfare can take different forms:

  • Certain goods are subsidized by the state. In that way, in many countries the price of goods people need daily, such as bread or rice may be fixed by the state.
  • A voucher is similar to a subsidy, except that it may only be used in a certain way. An example of this might be the cafeteria at the university; certain students get their meals cheaper, because they have a voucher. The cafeteria then exchanges the voucher, and will be paid the difference.
  • It is also possible to pay money directly: people will then get a monthly amount of money. They can spend this money on anything, without restriction.
  • Some countries need to have proof you applied for a job to receive welfare.

Welfare money is given by the government, charities, and other groups of people to help homeless, old, illness, poor, and disabled people (people who cannot help themselves), and also helps children (child support).

Welfare can also be called the well-being of someone or a group of people: their happiness, health, safety, and fortune.

In countries like Germany, Japan, United States, Sweden, and France, government welfare also is used to help the needy.