In corporate capitalist economies like the United States, welfare is defined in terms of charity and questionable need. Example: "Welfare refers to government-sponsored assistance programs for individuals and families in need, including programs as health care assistance, food stamps, and unemployment compensation. Welfare programs are typically funded through taxation."
In more egalitarian societies, welfare is often part and parcel with social security. It's the provisions for all citizens to address the responsibilities of liberty, equality and fraternity.