What is Welfare

US Welfare Programs

Creating a Government Safety Net

About Anti-Poverty Programs

US Programs fit into 13 different categories:

-Programs focus on providing benefits to low income individuals and families

These programs provide basic necessities:



What is Welfare???

Welfare: Government programs to support low-income Americans. The programs provide a safety net to individuals and families to protect them from poverty

-Also includes: Medicaid which is low cost medical care

Welfare Programs are “Means Tested”

-in order to qualify for benefits the individuals and families must have income from jobs or self-employment at below a defined level.

-Income above the means-tested level means the individual or family does not qualify for benefits.

Also common to the Programs is that they are free to low-income Americans – there is no past contribution or taxes paid that are necessary to qualify.

What Are Entitlement Programs???

Entitlement programs are rights granted to citizens and certain non-citizens by federal law

Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment and Welfare Programs

Entitlement programs can be broken into non-contributory and contributory programs.

Non-contributory programs are free handouts – they equal “something for nothing“

Contributory programs must be earned – they equal “something for something”

What is a Social Safety Net???

Various Welfare Programs to protect low-income Americans from poverty and hardship.

Programs are meant to be a safety net to catch Americans if they fall on hard times.

The goal is to get Americans back on their feet and to protect them with a minimum standard of living.

State Programs and non-profit organizations also make up the Social Safety Net

Negative Income Tax

Two tax credit programs overseen by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to distribute money to low-income Americans.

The tax credits include a “refundable” portion which is paid to individuals and families that owe no income tax for the year.  This portion of the tax credits act as “negative income tax”.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): based on a complicated calculation which includes the family size and the amount of qualifying earned income.

Child Tax Credit:$1,000 per qualifying child under 17 years old.  The credit phases out for married couples with adjusted gross income of $110,000 and single parents over $75,000.


This is a food program for low-income individuals and families.

SNAP used to be called the food stamp program and stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Run by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

Participants receive a debit card which is accepted in most grocery stories for the purchase of food

Housing Assistance

Various housing programs are administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) including rental assistance, public housing and various community development grants.


This is a program to pay cash to low-income individuals over 65 years of age or under 65 if the individual is blind or disabled.

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income and is administered by the Social Security Administration.

Pell Grants

This is a grant program administered by the Department of Education to distribute up to $5,550 to students from low-income households to promote postsecondary education (colleges and trade schools).


This is a combined federal and state program that pays cash to low-income households with the goal of moving individuals from welfare to work.

TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Child Nutrition

These are food programs administered by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) which include:

school lunch, breakfast and after school programs.

They target children from low-income households and provide free or reduced price meals.


This is a program to provide Healthy food to pregnant women and children up to five years of age.

WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children and is available to low-income households.


This is a program to aid low-income households that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy, either heating or cooling a residential dwelling.

LIHEAP stands for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and is administered by HHS.

http:// www.miamidade.gov/socialservices/housing-assistance-energy.asp

Lifeline (aka Obama Phone)

This is a program to provide discounted phone service, including cell phones, to low-income individuals.

The program is administered by the Federal Communications Commission.


http:// federalsafetynet.com/us-welfare-programs.html

http://www.theburningplatform.com/2012/09/27/obama-phone /

http://www.nicao-online.org/services/energy_assistance/2011_data /

http:// www.co.aitkin.mn.us/departments/human-svcs/public-health/wic-program.html

http://www.doyourpart.com/eco-news/could-school-lunch-really-cause-childhood-obesity /

http:// scbssnj.org/temporary_assistance_to_needy_families_tanf.htm

http://www.wmcpa.com/social-security-changes-2014 /

http://www.ocmodhomes.com/buying /

http://forcechange.com/69373/condemn-cuts-to-food-stamps /

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