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What are some non-means based entitlement programs available to US citizens?  

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checkyyy | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 29, 2013 at 6:47 PM via web

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What are some non-means based entitlement programs available to US citizens?

 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 29, 2013 at 6:56 PM (Answer #1)

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Two of the most prominent entitlement programs that are not really means-based are Social Security and Medicare.

An entitlement program is one in which everyone who meets certain criteria is entitled, by law, to some benefit.  In other words, the government does not have to specifically vote to appropriate money for these programs every year.  They exist automatically and they pay benefits automatically to anyone who meets the criteria.

An entitlement program is means-based if only people with lower incomes can get it.  Things that are means-based include things like food stamps.  If you have more than a given amount of money, you cannot receive food stamps.  

By contrast, both Social Security and Medicare are not means-based.  Any person who meets the requirements (which do not have to do with income) can receive these benefits.  A person who has made millions of dollars in their life can receive Social Security and Medicare benefits from the government when they are old enough.  It is true that richer people pay more money into the Social Security and Medicare funds, but the programs are not means-based.  They are available to everyone, regardless of income and are therefore non-means based entitlement programs. 

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