In 1900, the states of New South Wales and Victoria enacted legislation introducing non-contributory pensions for those aged 65 and over.
Queensland legislated a similar system in 1907 before the Australian labor Commonwealth government led by Andrew Fisher introduced a national aged pension under the Invalid and Old-Aged Pensions Act 1908.
Welfare systems differ from country to country, but welfare is commonly provided to individuals who are unemployed, those with illness or disability, the elderly, those with dependent children, and veterans.
A person's eligibility for welfare may also be constrained by means testing or other conditions.
During the Great Depression, when emergency relief measures were introduced under President Franklin D.
Roosevelt, Roosevelt's New Deal focused predominantly on a program of providing work and stimulating the economy through public spending on projects, rather than on cash payment.
Modern welfare states include Germany, France, the Netherlands, In the Islamic world, Zakat (charity), one of the Five Pillars of Islam, has been collected by the government since the time of the Rashidun caliph Umar in the 7th century.
The taxes were used to provide income for the needy, including the poor, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled.
It was predominantly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that an organized system of state welfare provision was introduced in many countries.
In 1952, with the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention (nr.
102), the International Labour Organization (ILO) formally defined the social contingencies covered by social security.
Some countries run conditional cash transfer welfare programs where payment is conditional on behavior of the recipients.
Prior to 1900 in Australia, charitable assistance from benevolent societies, sometimes with financial contributions from the authorities, was the primary means of relief for people not able to support themselves.
Only social programs that direct funds to individuals are included in that cost; programs such as medicare and public education are additional costs.