Income Support: Programs and Policies
Income support programs provide cash—not services—to supplement the income of individuals and families. The United States does not provide many of the income support programs offered in other countries. For example, the United States does not guarantee a minimum income, a monthly allow- ance for each child regardless of the family's earnings, or paid family leave. But the United States does offer a cluster of smaller, and mostly less adequate, income programs. These programs include (1) Social Security retirement (OASI); (2) disability insurance (DI); (3) Supplemental Security Income (SSI); (4) Unemployment Insurance (UI); (5) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); (6) workers' compensation; (7) the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); (8) general assistance; (9) experimental Individual De- velopment Accounts (IDAs); and (10), still in its formulative stages, the Basic Income Grant (BIG), a novel guaranteed income program. The first eight programs constitute the primary sources of income assistance in the United States; the ninth (IDAs), however, has gained increasing attention. The tenth (BIG) would uproot the most fundamental principles of U.S. social welfare.
This chapter describes each of these programs. It begins by exploring the social change triggers that brought them into existence. Next, it reviews their provisions and benefits. Finally, following the policy model developed in the preceding chapters, it looks at income support programs through the lens of economics, politics, ideology, social movements, and history. By examining