Key Concepts and Summary

Key Concepts and Summary

The group of government programs that assist the poor are called the safety net. In the United States, prominent safety net programs include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the earned income tax credit (EITC), Medicaid, and the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).


earned income tax credit (EITC)

a method of assisting the working poor through the tax system


a federal–state joint program enacted in 1965 that provides medical insurance for certain (not all) low-income people, including the near-poor as well as those below the poverty line, and focusing on low-income families with children, the low-income elderly, and the disabled


those who have incomes just above the poverty line

safety net

the group of government programs that provide assistance to the poor and the near-poor

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

a federally funded program, started in 1964, in which each month poor people receive SNAP cards they can use to buy food

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