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Welfare Program

The U.S. Welfare Program began in the 1930s as a result of the Great Depression. This federally funded and governed program was originally designed to provide assistance to those who had little or no income. For the next 60 years or so, the system remained under federal control, however, outcries about abuse resulted in significant structural changes under former President Bill Clinton, and the Welfare Program is now in control of the states.

The federal government can also provide aid through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). There are many different welfare programs in the United States, including SNAP (food stamps), SSI (social security), and WIC (food program for women and children). Currently, there are 13 welfare programs in the nation, in addition to the Medicaid Program that provides healthcare to low-income citizens.

In order to be eligible for welfare, there are several factors that are taken into consideration. Some of these include the following: gross and net income, size of family, medical emergencies, pregnancy and unemployment. These factors are carefully looked at for state welfare programs. Plus, the federal welfare program has its own certain criteria.

The TANF grant helps provide financial assistance to unemployed citizens, however, recipients must find work within two years of receiving aid. In order to apply for welfare programs, you must typically contact your local Human Services Department and set up an appointment with a case worker. Using your documentation, including financial information, the case worker will determine which programs you qualify for.

Welfare FAQ


1. Is there a work requirement if you are on welfare?

Yes. With the TANF program, single parents are required to work at least 30 hours per week. Two-parent families must work 35 or 55 hours in order to receive benefits.

2. What are the types of welfare programs offered in the United States?

The U.S. welfare system includes several prominent programs. The most notable include SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and TANF.

3. What is the difference between SNAP and WIC?

SNAP, which was formerly called the Food Stamp Program, allows for a wider variety of food purchases. Food stamps are available to an entirely different demographic, whereas WIC is aimed at mothers, pregnant women and children. Under WIC, there are only certain food items that can be purchased, including milk, cereal and juice. There are also different income requirements for each program.

4. How many Americans are on welfare?

According to recent information compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are 12.8 million Americans on welfare. That accounts for 4.1 percent of the entire U.S. population.

5. How much money can you make per month and still receive welfare?

A welfare recipient can earn up to $1,000 per month and still receive welfare benefits.