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U.S. Social Welfare System

Discuss three of the nine major forms of benefits/services in the U.S. social welfare system. For each of the three, give an example of when you believe that benefit or service would be positive and when it would be negative.

1)Material goods/commodities
3)Expert services
4)Positive discrimination
7)Government guarantees
8)Protective regulation
9)Power over decisions


1) Tangible benefits (e.g., food, shelter, clothing)
2) Negotiable currency, exchangeable without loss in value
3) Skilled, knowledgeable performances by credentialed professionals
4) Benefits directed to protected groups to redress past inequities
5) Prepayments or postpayments to purveyors of benefits and/or services. A credit can be used by a beneficiary only at purveyor(s) chosen by the organization providing the credit. A voucher can be used at purveyor(s) chosen by beneficiary.
6) Payments made to a third party (e.g., federal funds to private hospitals)
7) Government promise to repay loan in event signatory defaults
8) Grants of exclusive or near-exclusive right to a certain market as a result of lack of competition
9) Right to make decisions that serve self-interests of a particular group with which decision maker is affiliated

Solution Preview


Interesting question! Let's look a three of the benefits/services, which you can consider for your final discussion.


1. Material goods/commodities: 1)Tangible benefits (e.g., food, shelter, clothing)

Positive example:

When a family needs help because of disaster or changed circumstances, receiving tangible benefits of food, shelter and clothing is essential and beneficial, and perhaps even life saving to some family (e.g., Katrina, single parent, etc.).

Negative Example:

When the person or family becomes entrenched in the system and is not encouraged to change her or his lifestyle/situation so she or he can once again be self-supporting for her/himself and family. This then becomes a negative for the family, as living on welfare equates living in poverty and it is self-defacing for children.

4. Positive Discrimination

Discrimination involves the deliberate treatment of people or circumstances differently - positively or negatively. Benefits directed to protected groups to redress past inequities. Typically, the policies relate to groups rather than individuals. Such groups may be delineated on grounds of their sex or age, ethnic origin or religion, employment experience, parental status, or social isolation.

Positive Outcomes:

Positive discrimination describes a strategy aimed at social objectives - which ...

Solution Summary

By example, this solution highlights three major forms of benefits/services in the U.S. social welfare system e.g. positive and negative outcomes for each factor provided.