When social protection mechanisms are disrupted in disasters, these shocks can be especially harmful for persons who are disproportionately impacted by disaster loss, such as persons with disabilities, older persons, women and children and persons experiencing extreme poverty. When social protection fails, the benefit programs that many depend on become unavailable. This further places disaster impacted persons in harm's way, and taxes disaster services needed for the whole community.
Benefits mechanisms include:
- Health maintenance, medical and, long-term services and supports
- Maternity, child and family rations
- Pensions for older persons and survivors
- Employment injury and unemployment protection
Community risk reduction approaches that plan for closing gaps in social protection systems during disasters optimize limited resources and maximize community-wide outcomes.
When planning for potential gaps in social protection, consider how you will:
- Maintain accessibility and inclusion throughout restoration of all social protection programs.
- Provide assistance to social protection system workers to ensure they are able to return to work as soon as possible, including workers with disabilities, workers with children and family members who are older or have disabilities.
- Bring assistance to individuals to maintain their health, safety and independence until social protection systems are restored (see also inclusive cash transfer).
- Locate emergency services in accessible facilities on accessible and affordable transportation routes.
- Provide information about available assistance in accessible formats.
- Provide lifesaving and life sustaining supplies for individuals unable to provide necessary identification.
- Support the replication of identification cards, vital records and other personal documents as soon as possible.
- Notify beneficiaries when benefit systems are operational and provide assistance to ensure individual benefits are restored.