Social Security

Social Security

Every person wants protection against any kind of unforeseen event which may endanger his safety and threaten the continuity of his income. This security has been guaranteed to people through varied kinds of institutions. Initially, this was provided through the joint family and caste system which in the course of time is disintegrating. Especially due to rapid urbanization people are becoming highly individualistic and insecure that they don’t want or not capable to provide security to fellowman by their own efforts.

Realizing that some deliberate efforts were required to ensure security, for the first time in 1935 in England, William Beveridge came forward with the idea of ‘social security’ as means of protection against five great giants:
  • want
  • disease
  • ignorance
  • idleness and
  • squalor

The International Labor Organization (1942) defined social security “as the security that society furnishes through appropriate organization, against certain risks to which its members are exposed.” Friedlander (1963) thought social security as a program of protection provided by society against those contingencies of modern life sickness, unemployment, old age, dependence, industrial accidents and invalidism against which the individual by his own ability or foresight cannot protect him or his family.

Thus, the major characteristic features of social security are:
  • It is a security deliberately provided as a matter of right, by collective efforts of people in society
  • It protects people against different types of contingencies – biological, economic or even bio-economic that confront people from their birth to decay
  • such contingencies imperil the working capacity of people and disrupt the continuity of income and impair their ability to lead a decent and dignified life
  • Contingencies are such that it is impossible for common people to effectively face the challenges posed by them, utilizing their own as well as their dependents’ private resources.
  • such collective endeavors made may or may not require the beneficiaries to contribute nominally, for the benefits which they may avail of in case of occurrence of certain specified kinds of contingencies
  • Social security benefits may be in the form of cash, kind or both
  • Social security provides the necessary confidence that, benefits adequate in quality and quantity will be available whenever required.
There are three major forms of social security:
  • Social insurance
  • Public/social assistance, and
  • Public or social services.

In social insurance, prospective beneficiaries are required to make some very nominal contribution for the benefits which they are given in case of occurrence of contingencies. These benefits are so decided that they may be able to cater their needs. Public/social assistance may be given in cash and / or kind to enable people to meet the existing actual need and to lead a minimum desirable standard of living. There is a sharp difference between public and social assistance.

Public assistance is provided through the State exchequer after assessing the existing actual need and ensuring that prospective beneficiaries fulfill certain prescribed eligibility requirements – family responsibility and morality. Social assistance is provided to indigent people considered to be eligible based on specified criteria, by some civil society organizations to enable them to satisfy their basic minimum needs. Public/social services are made available by the state/ society to promote human/social development. Sometimes a very fine distinction is made between public and social services, the former organized and provided by the state and the latter by society through some civil society initiative.