Federal Welfare Programs

Welfare programs give money and services to people who earn little money. These programs are available for everyone, but only people with low incomes get benefits.

There are at least 87 programs for people with low incomes. They offer money, food, homes, medical care, and other help.

For example:

  • SNAP lets people buy more food.
  • Medicaid gives medical care.
  • Pell grants help students pay for college.
Check out our resources at the state level for more local assistance options.

In 2022, the U.S. government spent $1,285.4 billion on the 13 largest national welfare programs. Medicaid was the biggest program, followed by the EITC, SNAP, and SSI. These four assistance programs took up almost 80% of the total spend.

U.S. Welfare Spending in Calendar Year 2022:

Federal ProgramSpending (in Billions)
EITC and Child Tax Credit269.6
Housing Assistance80.7
Pell Grants35.0
Child Nutrition37.3
Head Start13.3
Employment & Training8.8
Child Care29.0

Source: This table data is based on details available at USGovernmentSpending.com.

Federal Welfare Programs (Big List)

  1. 21st Century Community Learning Centersed.gov
  2. Academic Competitiveness and Smart Grant Programstudentaid.gov
  3. Additional Child Tax Creditirs.gov
  4. Adult Basic Education Grants to Statesed.gov
  5. Breast/Cervical Cancer Early Detectioncdc.gov
  6. Child and Adult Care Food Programfns.usda.gov
  7. Child Care and Development Fundacf.hhs.gov
  8. Child Nutrition
  9. Child Support Enforcementacf.hhs.gov
  10. Community Development Block Grantshud.gov
  11. Community Services Block Grantacf.hhs.gov
  12. Consolidated Health Centersbphc.hrsa.gov
  13. Developmental Disabilities Support and Advocacy Grants
  14. Early Reading Firsted.gov
  15. Earned Income Tax Credit (refundable component)irs.gov
  16. Education for Homeless Children and Youthed.gov
  17. Education for the Disadvantageded.gov
  18. Emergency Food and Shelter Program
  19. Employment & Training
  20. Family Planning
  21. Federal Pell Grantsstudentaid.gov
  22. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grantstudentaid.gov
  23. Federal TRIO Programsed.gov
  24. Federal Work-Studystudentaid.gov
  25. Food Program Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Ricofns.usda.gov
  26. Foster Careacf.hhs.gov
  27. Foster Grandparents
  28. Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR-UP)ed.gov
  29. Grants to Local Educational Agencies (Title I-A)ed.gov
  30. Grants to States for Low-Income Housing in Lieu of Low-Income Housing Credit Allocations
  31. Head Start HHSacf.hhs.gov
  32. Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)hud.gov
  33. Homeless Assistance Grantshud.gov
  34. Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)hud.gov
  35. Housing Assistance
  36. Indian Educationed.gov
  37. Indian Health Serviceihs.gov
  38. Indian Housing Block Grantshud.gov
  39. Job Corpsdol.gov
  40. Legal Services Corporationlsc.gov
  41. LIHEAPacf.hhs.gov
  42. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)acf.hhs.gov
  43. Maternal and Child Health Block Grant
  44. Mathematics and Science Partnershipsed.gov
  45. Medicaidmedicaid.gov
  46. Neighborhood Stabilization Programhud.gov
  47. Nutrition Program for the Elderly
  48. Older Americans Act Family Caregiver Program
  49. Older Americans Act Grants for Supportive Services and Senior Centers
  50. Pell Grantsstudentaid.gov
  51. Public Housinghud.gov
  52. Public Works and Economic Development
  53. Rural Education Achievement Programed.gov
  54. Rural Rental Assistance Program
  55. Ryan White HIV/AIDS Programhab.hrsa.gov
  56. School Breakfast Program (free/reduced price components)fns.usda.gov
  57. Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchershud.gov
  58. Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistancehud.gov
  59. Single-Family Rural Housing Loans
  60. SNAPfns.usda.gov
  61. Social Services Block Grantacf.hhs.gov
  62. Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)fns.usda.gov
  63. SSIssa.gov
  64. State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)insurekidsnow.gov
  65. Summer Food Service Programfns.usda.gov
  66. Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilitieshud.gov
  67. Supportive Housing for the Elderlyhud.gov
  68. TANFacf.hhs.gov
  69. Tax Credit Assistance Program
  70. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)acf.hhs.gov
  71. The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)fns.usda.gov
  72. Transitional Cash and Medical Services for Refugees
  73. Voluntary Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit — Low Income Subsidymedicare.gov
  74. Water and Waste Disposal for Rural Communities
  75. Weatherization Assistance Programenergy.gov
  76. WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP)fns.usda.gov
  77. Work Investment Act Adult Activitiesdol.gov
  78. Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
  79. Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP)
  80. Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITC)
  81. Military OneSource
  82. Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC)
  83. Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)
  84. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Grants
  85. Unemployment Insurance (UI)
  86. Veterans Pension
  87. Women’s Bureau