--Last year, about 29 percent of households received Medicare benefits and 31.6 percent received Social Security. (Obviously there's a lot of overlap between those two, since those programs mainly benefit retirees.)--Meanwhile, about 32 million households, or 27.1 percent, benefited from at least one means-tested poverty program. The biggest benefits here were Medicaid (19.5 percent), food stamps (12.7 percent) and subsidized lunches (11.2 percent). Again, there's some overlap.--Smaller benefits include public housing (5 percent of households), unemployment (4 percent), and veterans' compensation (2.6 percent). Only 7 percent of households receive some sort of direct cash assistance, such as the TANF welfare program.
September 18, 2012 at 4:58 PM EDT