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What are entitlement programs?

There are a variety of entitlement programs in the US overseen by the federal government.

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There are both contributory and non-contributory programs.


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What is an entitlement program?

These programs are used to provide financial support to citizens. They are called entitlement programs because they are essentially  “rights granted to all citizens and certain non-citizens by federal law.” There are both contributory and non-contributory programs. Read more about it here.

These federal programs are vast and have created a social safety net for people across the US.


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What is a contributory program?

Contributory programs are usually paid into by workers throughout their life.  A monthly or annual contribution is typically taken right out of their paycheck.

The most widely claimed of the contributory entitlement programs are Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment insurance.

Social Security and Medicare are designed to help out the aging community. Unemployment provides monthly payments for Americans who are out of work if they have contributed enough time working prior.

What is a non-contributory program?

Non-contributory programs are oftentimes referred to as ‘welfare.’ They are designed to provide support for low-income Americans, regardless of work history.

These programs are a safety net for the financially vulnerable. The program’s design is to keep people out of poverty and offer basic financial or medical support to those who need it most.

Even though these are considered a legal right for all Americans, there are eligibility requirements. This is to ensure the support goes to those who need it.

The programs include refundable tax credits, SNAP, Housing Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, and Pell Grants for students.

There are also specific programs that focus on supporting children in low-income households. These include, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families(TANF), Child Nutrition, Head Start, and childcare support.


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