How Social Welfare Is Funded By the Government

How Social Welfare Is Funded By the Government

The United States provides assistance to needy individuals and families through their social welfare system. The state governments spent about $390 billion the welfare of their residents in 2015. About 26% of total spending is represented by welfare which is the largest form of state-level spending by a large margin. There are different categories in welfare including cash assistance, public housing, and health expenses such as Medicaid.

Breaking Down Social Welfare System

Depending on the country, state, or region, the types and amount of welfare available to individuals and families vary. Through the Temporary Assistance for Needing Families (TANF), the federal government provides grants to each state. Programs such as health care, food stamps, unemployment compensation, housing assistance, and child care assistance are what social welfare system provides to individuals and families. Each individual or family applying for benefits to determine and confirm the applicant's needs is being assigned with a caseworker in the United States.

Each state determines the benefits available to an individual and the eligibility is based on factors related to the person’s financial status and how it relates to the minimum acceptable levels around a particular state. The size of the family unit, current income levels or an assessed disability is among the factors that need to be considered.

Although social welfare systems may go by different names within each state, they often serve the same functions. When attempting to compare one state’s program to another, this can cause confusion. The requirements to qualify may vary as well depending on a particular state's poverty line. It makes adjustments possible based on items like the cost of living that are not standardized across the country.

What Benefits Can Family Get From Social Welfare

The assistance for food, housing, child care, and medical care are most of the available benefits generally offered to eligible individuals and families. Federal funds are provided to the states for distribution in terms of TANF. A household is able to spend the funds that are given to use for cash assistance as it deems necessary to meet its needs and obligations.

There are housing benefits that sometimes go beyond locating suitable and affordable properties and providing assistance on housing cost. Assistance to complete certain energy efficiency upgrades may be offered for qualified households and it may also receive funds for utility bills to be paid.

Access to affordable medical care is among the benefits people get around health and nutrition. To provide easier access to food in general, food and nutrition programs may supply funds as well which is often referred to as food stamps. There is also nutritional assistance in the form of food-specific benefits provided for pregnant women and young children to ensure they have accesses to healthy food options to promote growth and development through the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.

Other programs offered by the social welfare system include disaster relief assistance, education assistance, agricultural loans, and services solely for veterans.

How the U.S Spend on Social Welfare

The size of state spending on public assistance programs is affected by the different state’s economic and demographic makeup as well as it’s finances, politics, and procedures. Per capita, welfare spending ranges from just over $1,000 to more than $2,700 at the state level.

The ones most often associated with welfare spending may be cash assistance programs but they represent a very small share of low-income support systems which is less than 1% of total state welfare spending.

It is the federal level that mostly funds such programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and the Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The largest share of state welfare costs at the state level is represented by health spending, and particularly payment to health providers through Medicaid.

The per-capita government welfare expenditure figures from the U.S Census Bureau’s 2015 State and Local Government Expenditures data was review by the 24/7 Wall Street. High welfare expenditures’ states seemed to close to higher shares of elderly residents and higher tax collections per capita. The federal government funding is not an option for less affluent states when it comes to funding welfare programs. 

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