What are the Different Types of State Benefits?

M. Lupica

Depending on a person’s location, he or she may have the right to one or more state benefits. State benefits are governmental programs that have the aim of providing direct economic assistance to citizens. There are many different approaches to providing such benefits and some governments will grant their citizens more than others. Some common examples of state benefits are direct financial support, pensions, unemployment, and social security.

Pensions are state benefits often granted to former workers as retirement income.
Pensions are state benefits often granted to former workers as retirement income.

When people think of state benefits the first thing that often comes to mind is direct financial support – commonly known as state welfare. Usually if a government offers such support, there is a set maximum income: an applicant for the welfare benefits will qualify for support for so long as he or she earns less than the income cap. Should a person who is legitimately receiving welfare benefits subsequently take another job that increases income beyond the stated limit, he or she will no longer be eligible for state welfare.

Pensions are state benefits often granted to workers as retirement income after a career working for the government. The granting of a pension is generally tied to a minimum length of time working in the governmental position as well as reaching a minimum age before retirement. Pension levels are typically set at a certain percentage of the recipient’s former salary and are granted as long as that person is alive. Additionally, some governments provide a measure of support for the recipient’s spouse after the recipient’s death.

State employment benefits are commonly referred to as unemployment insurance. Though the rules vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, these state benefits generally are paid out to anyone who loses a job through no fault of his or her own. The recipient is typically paid weekly or bi-weekly in an amount that is usually determined by the rate he or she earned prior to losing the job.

Social security is a form of state benefits designed to provide citizens with retirement income. A social security program typically entails taking a small amount from every person’s income in the form of a social security tax to be paid out to each person upon reaching retirement age — as deemed by the governmental body administering the program. The amount to be regularly paid to the individual receiving social security benefits depends on the amount he or she paid into the system throughout his or her lifetime as well as the age at which the individual takes retirement.

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