Social services, social assistance and welfare research topics

More than half of Americans have received benefits or services from a social services agency or welfare program, such as a social security check, food stamps or unemployment benefits. Social assistance has evolved over the years.

Learn more about social assistance for your research paper. (Credit: Ortcom)

Learn more about social assistance for your research paper. (Credit: Ortcom)

Here are some term paper topics on human services department trends.

Social assistance and healthcare

For your term paper, the topic of social assistance and healthcare is interesting. Medical assistance covers many areas of healthcare, including chronic disease prevention, medical and dental services, child care, home healthcare, kidney dialysis, cancer screening, Medicare beneficiaries, pregnancy, and assistance for those being released from incarceration. Those who apply for medical assistance programs are screened for eligibility based on age, income, financial resources and medical needs.

A new trend emerging is telemedicine, which is being incorporated into assistance programs. Telemedicine allows doctors, nurses and other health professionals to use video cameras to speak with and examine patients at remote sites. “As part of the larger consumerism trend, telemedicine and onsite clinics are becoming more prevalent as cost-effective options for employers. These offerings also appeal to employees who are paying more out-of-pocket for their care,” said Stephen Miller in “Benefits Trends to Watch in 2016,” in HRMagazine, December/January 2015.

Bipartisanship of social assistance

A good research paper topic is discussing the bipartisan nature of social assistance in America. In “A Bipartisan Nation of Beneficiaries,” in, December 18, 2012, Rich Morin, Paul Taylor and Eileen Patten reported on a Pew Research Center national survey that revealed that 60% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans have received government benefits from a federal entitlement program (i.e., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, unemployment benefits, food stamps). While actual use of benefits is similarly split between Democrats and Republicans, when asked if the government has a responsibility to care for those who cannot care for themselves, 74% of Democrats agreed, while only 38% of Republicans agreed.

According to the Pew survey, a majority (55%) of all Americans have received benefits or services from at least one of the programs, while a third (32%) have received multiple benefits. Unemployment and Social Security top the list of benefit programs received. “If veteran benefits and federal college loans and grants are added to the mix, the proportion of Americans who personally have ever received entitlement benefits rises to 70%,” said the report. Adults 65 and older are nearly three times as likely to have received an entitlement benefit during their lives as those adults under the age of 30.

People with jobs still need assistance

A trend in social assistance that you could write about for a term paper is that more than half of the recipients of the $152.8 billion a year spent on social assistance is given to people who have jobs. Stagnant wages and decreased benefits are a persistent problem, as people who work in low-paying retail, such as Walmart, fast food, home healthcare, child care and part-time college faculty often don’t make enough money to pay for food, rent and healthcare. In the University of California, Berkeley Labor Center’s 2015 report, “The High Public Cost of Low Wages,” Ken Jacobs, Ian Perry, and Jenifer MacGillvary said, “When jobs don’t pay enough, workers turn to public assistance in order to meet their basic needs. These programs provide vital support to millions of working families whose employers pay less than a livable wage. …Higher wages and increases in employer-provided health insurance would result in significant Medicaid savings that states and the federal government could apply to other programs and priorities.”

For more information, check out Questia’s library on Welfare System.

Do you think the government should increase or decrease social assistance programs?

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