'Welfare' is explained in detail and with examples in the Economics edition of the Herold Financial Dictionary, which you can get from Amazon in Ebook or Paperback edition.
Welfare is a social program that the government uses to attempt to provide for its citizens’ well being. This could happen with social security, social welfare programs, or even government sponsored financial aid. Corporate welfare is generally described as the government directly supporting companies instead of permitting the free market to close down inefficient businesses. Governments that grow their welfare programs excessively find that they are called welfare states.
Any type of program that has the government giving services or money directly to citizens in need of help can be called welfare. This means that lots of government programs are forms of welfare, even when the citizens and critics do not realize it. Still others say that still more welfare programs are needed to adequately take care of people’s needs.
Social welfare provisions are what the majority of people are describing when they talk about it. These programs offer minimum income standards to those who have lost their jobs, are old, or are disabled. The government feels an ethical obligation to help these individuals who could not live without help. By allowing them a chance to find work again, the government ultimately helps out the economy and nation as a whole.
As an example, those who have lost their jobs can get welfare assistance in the form of unemployment as they are seeking replacement work. This is offered as cash assistance and sometimes as food stamps. If you become disabled and can no longer work, then you are able to obtain the same type of help, even though you do not have to look for work to be eligible.
A great number of countries today feature national health care programs. These prove to be enormous welfare systems. In these systems, every group in the country is able to access medical care when they need help. The U.S. does not yet have a functioning universal health care system set up, though one has been passed by congress and President Obama for the future.
A free universal welfare system that runs throughout the U.S. is free schooling until the end of high school. The government pays for all associated costs, even food and transportation when it is required. Because most critics do not consider free public education to be welfare, there is little controversy surrounding it.