Social Security benefits are conferred upon a person who has attained the age of superannuation or the retirement. Normally a person on attaining the age of 58 or 60 is eligible for superannuation. Until a decade ago, in India a central government servant was superannuated on attaining the age of 58 and the age limit was raised to 60 when the average life expectancy of an Indian citizen increased to above 60.Consequently almost all state governments also increased the age limit of superannuation to 60.However, in the case of judiciary a different policy is followed in the case of superannuation.
A District judge has to retire on completing 58 years of age. A High court judge is superannuated on attaining the age of 62.Whereas a Supreme Court is superannuated on attaining the age 65.However, there is a proposal to increase the retirement age of High court judge to 65.
Now let us consider the question ‘Should Social Security benefits be abolished?’ Before considering the question, let us examine, what are the social security benefits. They are the monetary benefits extended to a retiring person and in the case of aged people and the widows and destitute.A retiree is eligible to have the social security benefits like pension, commutation of pension, gratuity and leave salary etc. The idea of conferring social security benefits were evolved at first in England and then the idea spread to other countries of the world.
In the unorganized sector, some state governments are offering pensions to the widows, the destitute women and the aged people as well.
Social security benefits are extended by a government and sometimes even by private organizations to the retiring employees, in order to ensure their peaceful and prosperous life after their retirement and enabling them to eke out their livelihood out of their pension. Again when a person retires from his employment, he stops earning and he and his family depending upon him, now looks out for some other means to eke out their livelihood. At this juncture social security benefits are the only support and the means that he can rely upon. Again, after the retirement of a person, he needs a considerable amount to look after his health due to his aging process and its accompanying health hazards. One should not forget, along with the retiring person his family members are also aging and they also need his moral and financial support.
One may tend to ask, how long a government should extend social security benefits to a person. Of course until his death and then his spouse gets the family pension until her death. The present system should continue as along as the retirees are willing to get them. Will a day come that we can stop extending social security benefits to the aged people? However, there is no scope for such an eventuality. The joint family system once considered a boon for many, is now not found favor with any and people are increasingly forming small and separate families. In that case, there is very little scope for the aged people to be taken care of by their wards. The parental relationship has become more friendly and formal. Their wards treat them just like guests when they go to their house and there is very little scope for any sentiment and value.
People have become very much materialistic and the aged people are taken care of by many only for the sake of robbing their pension. Once, they lose any of their social security benefits, the next day many of them will literally come to streets. That is the reality.
Therefore, social security benefits should never be abolished and they should be extended, as long as they wish.