Fast Facts: What are Income Maintenance Benefit Programs in the US?

By: Eliza Adler


  1. Social Security. This is a cash benefit program funded through Federal Insurance Contributions Tax, which is paid by workers and employers. Disabled or retired workers and their families benefit from this.11111111
  2. Unemployment Insurance. This is a cash benefit for laid-off workers. It is paid for by employers, through the federal government.111111
  3. Worker’s Compensation. This is a state program that provides aid to workers who are injured/have developed an illness caused by their work. The aid can be in the form of cash benefits, medical assistance, rehabilitation programming, or other benefits.1111111111
  4. Supplemental Security Income. This is a cash benefit program that is administered by the Social Security Administration. It benefits poor elderly, disabled children and adults.111
  5. General Assistance. This program aids low-income individuals or families who need help, but are ineligible for or are waiting for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF–see below). 35 states have this program, and it is funded by state, county, or local taxes.11
  6. Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. This program provides food vouchers and nutrition education to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and their children. It is run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.11111111111
  7. Food Stamps. This aid is in the form of a debit card, where money is transferred so that those using it can buy food. It serves low-income families and individuals, and is funded through federal general tax revenue.1111111111111
  8. Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Usually in the form of cash benefits or employment services, this aid benefits low-income families with children or families with foster children. Each state has it’s own name for their TANF program and can provide extra services such as job preparation.11111111111111111

DiNitto&McNeese, 2008. Pages  289-290.

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