Welfare programs are government subsidies allocated to low-income people, the sick, the elderly, and children. The social welfare program started to gain momentum in the USA, especially in the post-Great Depression period. The state prepared some programs and made regulations to normalize life and improve the economy. Today, many programs in the system are in effect for citizens to lead a better life.
In order to benefit from social welfare programs, people have to prove that their income is lower than the limit set by the state. The lower limit set in 2021 for a family of four is $ 26,500. Welfare programs are funded by the federal government and are run by the states. There are 6 major social welfare programs in the USA: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and Housing Assistance. All these programs are administered locally, except EITC.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Thanks to this program, families who receive aid have the opportunity to buy free products from authorized markets and grocery stores by showing the stamps or coupons issued by the state. In addition, children in schools and nurseries are provided with food and milk support free of charge or at low prices. In 2020, beneficiaries of this program received an average of $ 155 a month per person.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
This program helps families for a certain period. It provides assistance to families with children when parents or other responsible relatives cannot meet the basic needs of the family. In 2020, more than 500,000 adults and more than 1,5 million children benefited from this program, and a family benefiting from TANF received an average of $ 492.
The Medicaid program provides free or low-cost healthcare for adults, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and the disabled, free of charge. Last year Medicaid helped 77 million low-income families and children. Medicaid also funds births. It is the most extensive government program providing healthcare-related services.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
This program pays monthly cash benefits to needy individuals whose ability to work is restricted due to disability. Families can also get paid to support children with disabilities. As of January 2021, 7,9 million people have benefited from this program. The average monthly benefit is $ 585.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
EITC pays a refundable tax credit for people working in low-earning jobs. The Tax Credit increases family income by completing earnings to a steady level. According to data from 2020, a family of four (couples must be married and must apply together) would need to earn less than $ 53,330 a year to qualify for a potential tax credit of $ 5,920.
This program aims to improve the housing quality of low-income households and reduce housing costs. People are often assisted for rent allowance under this program. Housing Assistance allows 1,2 million public housing units, privately owned subsidized housing units. It also provides a voucher program for low-income tenants.