safety net

noun
1.
a large net rigged between a person, as a trapeze performer, and the ground as protection in a fall.
2.
something that provides a margin of protection or security: the safety net of federal credit for financial institutions.

Origin:
1945–50

safety-net, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
safety net
 
n
1.  a net used in a circus to catch high-wire and trapeze artistes if they fall
2.  any means of protection from hardship or loss, such as insurance

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
Others will neglect their well-being and use drugs as their safety net.
It also entails improving the social safety net, from unemployment benefits to
  pensions to education to health care.
Afterward, everyone was given the freedom, but it was no longer clear where the
  government safety net ended.
So if your parents were married, there is more of a safety net for your care.
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