The Case for Universal Social Protection

Countries across the world aim to provide social protection for all citizens or residents, generally by a combination of public social insurance and social assistance. Social protection, or social security, includes cash and in-kind benefits provided for children, mothers, and families; support for those sick and without jobs; and pensions for older and disabled persons. These benefit schemes are not only for the poor, as anyone may fall sick, lose a job, or have a child—and everyone inevitably gets old. Governments recognize the existence of universal needs among their citizens—reflecting vulnerabilities that all people are likely to face at least once in their lifetime.