The study found public support for the welfare system was dwindling and called for a more generous system to recognise claimants who have contributed.
The centre-left Institute for Public Policy Research's report said the "loss of faith" in the system was due to a sense that "contribution is no longer expected or rewarded".
It said: "Many people in Britain have lost faith in the benefit system. If the worst happens and someone loses their job, the social security system should be there to protect them against hardship until they get back on their feet.
"But most people think the British benefit system no longer offers enough protection for people who have paid into the system."
The Condition of Britain interim report, a wide-ranging survey of social policy, said: "The scale and scope of the benefit system has expanded dramatically in Britain over the last 50 years.
"But the British public has fallen out of love with large parts of the welfare system - unlike institutions, like the NHS, that retain deep popular support despite the many challenges they face."
IPPR director Nick Pearce said: "As society ages, and care needs rise, questions of inter-generational support and risk sharing will dominate policy debate. A new politics of the family is taking shape. At its heart is the question of how to fund, expand and reform care of children and the elderly, neither of which is currently well served by public services or private market."