The following is a breakdown of the larger welfare budget. This is not a list of social welfare spending, but rather the type of welfare that comes under the most criticism: one-way transfers of benefits that require no immediate service or payment in return. Technically, Medicaid is the largest item, but this is a special exception, since about three-fourths of Medicaid goes to the elderly, the blind and the otherwise disabled.

The purpose of this list is to show two things. First, AFDC and Food Stamps are by far the largest items on the welfare budget, since they are usually awarded together to welfare recipients. Critics of welfare who try to add up every form of welfare imaginable and then claim that Welfare Queens live on $20,000 a year will find there is not enough money in the budget to make that an across-the-board generalization. Second, it shows how much of the welfare budget goes to things like school loans, job training and veteran's medical care. Some argue that one of the largest items, the Earned Income Tax Credit, almost fails to qualify as welfare at all, since it is a tax refund that workers earn.

Combined Federal, State and Local Welfare Budget, 1992 (millions)1
Medicaid                      $118,067
AFDC                            24,923
Food Stamps                     24,918
Supplemental Security Income    22,774
Lower income housing asst.      12,307
Earned Income Tax Credit         9,553
Veterans medical care            7,838
Stafford loans                   5,683
Social Services (Title 20)       5,419
Pell Grants                      5,374
Low-rent public housing          5,008
General medical assistance       4,850
Foster Care                      4,170
School Lunch                     3,895
Pensions for needy veterans      3,667
General Assistance               3,340
Head Start                       2,753
Food supplements,
    Women, infants and children  2,600
Training for disadvantaged 
    youth and adults             1,744
Low-income energy assistance     1,594
Rural housing loans              1,468
Indian Health Services           1,431
Summer youth employment          1,183
Maternal and child health        1,059
JOBS and WIN                     1,010
Job Corps                          955
Child care block grant             825
School Breakfast                   782
Child care for AFDC                755
Nutrition Program for Elderly      659
Housing interest reduction         652
Child and adult care food program  624
"At risk" child care               604

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1 Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, "Cash and Noncash Benefits for Persons with Limited Income: Eligibility Rules, Recipient and Expenditure Data, FY 1990-92," Report 93-832 EPW and earlier reports.