Welfare Rules & Regulations

The federal government provides a variety of programs aimed at increasing the standard of living of needy individuals and families. Any government program that provides aid or income to people in need can be considered a welfare program. Welfare programs provide a variety of benefits such as income payments and access to nutrition and medical care.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is a welfare program that provides income assistance to low income families. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the goals of TANF are to prevent out-of-wedlock pregnancy, encourage two-parent families and enable families to take care of children in their own homes. The federal government provides funds for TANF to the states but not directly to citizens; each state has its own rules for giving out TANF funds.

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income is a government program designed to help low-income disabled, blind and aged people meet basic housing clothing and nutrition needs. The Social Security Administration states that you must be disabled, aged 65 or older or blind to receive SSI. To qualify as disabled you must have a physical or mental impairment that results in severe functional limitations that is expected to last at least 12 months.

Food Stamps

Food stamps are vouchers provided by the government that allow needy families to purchase food. Food stamps are only available to those with low financial resources; the SSA states that you must typically have under $2,000 of resources to get food stamps or $3,000 if you are age 60 or older or disabled. Food stamp applications can be found at any Social Security office. The SSA says that resources you receive from TANF and SSI are not counted in determining eligibility for food stamps.


Medicaid is a government-funded health insurance program that provides health care coverage for low-income children, aged, blind and disabled people. Medicaid can allow needy children to see doctors for health problems without parents having to worry about paying high health costs. According to the SSA, many states use the same eligibility requirements that apply to SSI to determine eligibility for Medicaid.