Welfare is a type of government support for the citizens of that society to meet their basic human needs such as food and shelter. Welfare programs typically provide either a free or subsidized supply of certain goods and services such as healthcare and education.
The United States has six major welfare programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income, Earned Income Tax Credit, Housing Assistance, and Medicaid. These six welfare programs are not to be confused with the four entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and worker’s compensation.
Welfare recipients in the United States must prove their income falls below a certain target based on the federal poverty level in order to qualify. In April 2018, President Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to review work requirements for TANF, Medicaid, SNAP, and housing assistance. Childless SNAP recipients who do not have disabilities, for example, must find a job within three months or lose their benefits.
The number of SNAP recipients has decreased overall in most states, as can be seen in the table below. The number of recipients grew during 2007-2011 due to the recession and has seen a steady decline since, most likely because of an improving economy and the imposed three-month limit.
The ten states that have the highest number of SNAP recipients are:
- California (3,636,314)
- Texas (3,291,843)
- Florida (2,779,400)
- New York (2,642,450)
- Illinois (1,780,778)
- Pennsylvania (1,741,489)
- Ohio (1,378,556)
- Georgia (1,348,973)
- Michigan (1,167,928)
- Tennessee (891,135)
Below is a table of each state’s number of SNAP recipients for 2018 and 2019.