A social safety net is one of the defining features of a ((development|developed) country, or as John Rawls said: ""A society will be judged by the ways in which it treats its weakest citizens."
The social safety net can be said to have three intertwined functions
- providing income support to the poor who are temporarily or permanently unable to earn an income. see: employment insurance, welfare, guaranteed annual income, disability pension
- providing for the basic needs of those who are unable to afford them (working or not). e.g. health care, food bank, homeless shelter, public housing, childrens aid
- providing equal opportunity for education and self improvement
social services, social spending, social programs