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in the USSR, monetary payments to citizens in instances provided for by law; one of the forms of material support in old age, illness, disability, and certain other cases. Benefits are divided into three groups. The first group includes payments to the elderly and invalids who do not receive state pensions and have no other source of income, to persons disabled since childhood, and to victims of leprosy. In contrast to the pension system, the granting and payment of benefits is not conditioned on prior work or other socially useful activity. These benefits are given only when a person becomes unable to work; their purpose is to provide material support for citizens who for some reason do not receive a pension but, owing to old age or poor health, need society’s help.

The second group includes benefits for the temporarily disabled, pregnant women, and new mothers. The purpose of these benefits is to compensate the worker, fully or in large part, for the earnings he or she loses as a consequence of temporary disability and, in addition, to compensate women for losses in connection with absence from work for maternity leave. Benefits for temporary disability are paid to industrial and office workers and kolkhozniks for disease or injury, sanatorium treatment—if leave time is insufficient to cover the time of treatment plus travel to and from the sanatorium—care of sick family members, quarantine, and temporary transfer to another job in connection with tuberculosis or occupational illness. They are also provided for prosthetic services rendered in a prosthetic-orthopedic hospital. Benefits are usually paid from the first day of disability until the disability has been overcome or a medical labor commission of experts determines that the person is an invalid. For temporary disability related to a nonoccupational injury, benefits are paid beginning on the sixth day of disability. For persons in prosthetic-orthopedic hospitals benefits cover stays of up to 30 days. Assistance to a person caring for a sick family member is generally given for not more than three days; when caring for a sick child under the age of 14, the period is longer.

The amount of assistance depends on the cause of the temporary disability. For a work-related injury or occupational disease, benefits equal full earnings. For a general illness or an injury unrelated to work, the amount of assistance varies, depending on the length of service: for a continuous working period of up to three years the benefits equal 50 percent of earnings; for three to five years, 60 percent for industrial and office workers and for kolkhozniks; for five to eight years, 80 percent for workers and 70 percent for kolkhozniks; for more than eight years of continuous work, 100 percent for workers and 90 percent for kolkhozniks. In accordance with a decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, since Dec. 1, 1975, industrial and office workers who have three or more dependent children under the age of 16 (18 if students) are to be paid 100 percent of earnings regardless of length of service in all cases of temporary disability.

The amount of assistance to workers and kolkhozniks under the age of 18 cannot be less than 60 percent of earnings in any case. War invalids are paid 100 percent of earnings regardless of length of service.

Industrial and office workers who are not members of a trade union receive assistance at half of the above norms, except for cases where the disability results from a work-related injury or occupational illness.

Maternity benefits are paid to all women, including nonunion members, in the amount of full earnings regardless of the length of service.

The third group of benefits provides assistance to families with children: monthly and one-time assistance to mothers with large numbers of children and unwed mothers, monthly assistance to children who are poorly provided for, and monthly assistance to the children of enlisted military personnel. Mothers of large families receive monthly assistance on the birth of the fourth and each subsequent child. In addition, they receive one-time benefits (from 20 to 250 rubles) on the birth of the third and each subsequent child. State assistance to unwed mothers is paid until the children reach the age of 12; the amount depends on the number of children. Low-income families receive assistance of 12 rubles a month for each child under the age of eight. Assistance to the children of enlisted military personnel is paid for the entire term of their active service.

In addition to the benefits listed above, there are one-time payments, such as assistance grants at the birth of the child and for burials. Benefits are paid by the state with allocations from the state budget of the USSR each year, including money from the social insurance budget, without any deductions from the earnings of working people.


SotsiaVnoe strakhovanie v SSSR. Edited by K. S. Batygin. Moscow, 1973.


In most bourgeois states today, the payment of benefits has been instituted on the basis of a state social insurance system. This is a result of the class struggle of the working class and not of a change in the nature of the capitalist system, as claimed by bourgeois and reformist propaganda. Like the whole bourgeois social insurance system, the benefits system is far from complete and does not cover all categories of working people. Many types of assistance that are vitally necessary for working people are lacking in many capitalist countries. For example, in the United States, benefits for families are not provided; only six states have instituted health benefits, and only one provides for maternity benefits. Unemployment benefits are paid in very few countries. In addition, some categories of working people, including agricultural workers, have no right to assistance at all in many countries.

In the capitalist countries, benefits are paid out of insurance funds to which industrial and office workers must make regular payments. Deductions from the pay of working people for temporary disability insurance alone are 3.5 percent in France, Austria, and Japan, 4-4.5 percent in the Federal Republic of Germany, and 5.5 percent in the Netherlands. In Australia and New Zealand, benefits for illness and unemployment are paid without withholding money from the earnings of working people, but not all working people have the right to receive these payments; benefits are paid only to those who have been verified as in need.

There are also numerous restrictions on the actual payment of benefits. Grants are not paid from the first day of loss of earnings but only begin after a waiting period of two to seven days has expired. In many countries, including Great Britain, Austria, Norway, Canada, and Iceland, and in most of the states in the United States, there is a waiting period even for benefits for a work-related injury. Ordinarily, payments do not last longer than 26 weeks. Benefits for temporary disability officially equal 50–75 percent of earnings, but in fact they are significantly less, since they cannot exceed a maximum limit. In several countries the amount of assistance drops sharply when a worker is hospitalized. In some countries, namely, Great Britain, Sweden, Norway, and Ireland, the amount of benefits is established not as a percentage of earnings but as a set amount, which is uniform for all persons insured; this is particularly unfavorable for working people under conditions of constant inflation.


benefits (mandatory and customary)

The personnel benefits required by law (such as social security, workmen’s compensation, and disability insurance), and by custom (such as sick leave, holidays, and vacation), and those which are optional with the individual firm (such as life insurance, hospitalization programs, pension plans, and similar benefits).
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