Welfare is a public assistance program developed to help people who are unable to support themselves fully. It provides a minimum amount of economic security to people whose incomes do not meet a sufficient standard of living. People who receive welfare include elderly people, people with mental or physical disabilities, and those needing help to support dependent children. People in the United States most commonly use the term welfare to refer to government-funded programs that provide economic support, goods, and services to the underemployed people. (World Almanac) The current U.S. welfare system originated from the Great Depression of the 1930s. During the worst part of the depression, about one-fourth of the labor force was without work. More than two-thirds of all households would have been considered poor by today's standards. "With a majority of the competent adult population experiencing severe financial misfortunefirst hand, Americans could no longer view poverty simply as a personal failing." (Encarta) The majority of Americans turned to the government for answers. U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt established a social and economic reform movement to combat the Great Depression. Part of his newly enacted "New Deal" program was the Social Security Act, enacted by Congress in 1935. This act and it's 1939 amendments established a number a number of social welfare programs, each designed to support the diverse social and economic needs of Americans. (World Almanac) Federal and state governments in the United States support the poor people through about sixty different welfare programs. Most people receive help through one of the four major programs. These programs are Medicaid, Aid to families with dependent children, social security, or Supplemental Security, and the food stamps program. Medicaid provides free medical care to the people who live in low-income families with dependent children a…

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