benefits system

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The system of provision in cash and in kind of sufficient income and services to maintain minimum standards of welfare among a country's residents. This system has to support those unable to provide for themselves because they are too old or young to work, or are disabled, ill, or simply unable or unwilling to obtain work. Such a system is necessarily expensive: choices which have to be made about it are between payments in cash and provision of benefits in kind; between universal benefits and means-tested benefits; between unconditional benefits and benefits conditional on work or training; and between benefits as of right and benefits at the discretion of officials.

Subjects: Economics.

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