Below I did a copy and past from a site by welfareinfo.org.
It is broad, includes social security and Medicare.
Most people think SS and Medicare is for people who worked, and paid into the system. This is true for most recipients, but not all.
Anyone can get Medicare at age 65. SSI recipients (federal welfare) get it automatically, do not even have to apply. Others would have to apply, but a work history of any kind is NOT required.
DACs get a lifetime of social security benefits, even if their parents received benefits for decades, even if they (Disabled Adult Child) never worked a day.
Spouses of wage earners receive benefit based on the earning of the spouse, simultaneously with the spouse, even if they never worked a day.
"An adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a child’s benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record. We make the disability decision using the disability rules for adults. The adult child including an adopted child or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or stepgrandchild—must be unmarried, age 18 or older, and have a disability that started before age 22. "
For these and similar reasons, I classify SS and Medicare as a gray area concerning welfare. Sometimes it is, but mostly it is not.
~ ~ ~
What is Welfare ?
Welfare encompasses those government programs that provide benefits and economic assistance to no or low income Americans. It can also be defined as financial assistance to impoverished Americans which is supplied through the taxes paid by the working class. One of the main goals of welfare US is to improve the quality of life and living standards for the poor and underprivileged. Welfare help is usually extended to people groups other than just the poor and underprivileged such as the elderly, the disabled, students, and unpaid workers, such as mothers and caregivers
Welfare programs available in the United States include: Medicaid, Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Head Start, Work Study, and Medicare. Social Security, often times called an entitlement program, is also considered one of the welfare programs in the U.S.. TANF is probably one of the most recognized of the welfare programs. Formerly known as Aid to Families with Dependant Children (AFDC), TANF was a reform measure for this program. No longer a lifelong program as AFDC was, TANF limits welfare benefits to a specified period of time. The states set these limitations, and most state’s plans terminate TANF benefits after five years.
~ ~ ~
[footnote: Forget that that stuff about limits on TANF, see my own post here:]
The 60 month time limits (36 in some states) for TANF (cash assistance) is all smoke and mirrors - not real.
First of all almost half of all TANF cases have NO adult head of household, so NO time limits for them.
If the mother is mentally disabled, gets SSI, she is not on the grant - not a "TANF household member".
If the mother is a drug addict, she may have turned the children over to a grandparent or aunt, so that adult is not on the TANF grant.
Next, the 60 month TANF counter is not running if the TANF head of household is considered temporarily disabled - like a difficult pregnancy. This is very common. Women who work and become pregnant continue to work. Women who are on welfare and become pregnant get a doctor statement saying they can't work.
Post partum 12 week work exemption is automatic, no doctor statement. needed.
So for every pregnancy, 8 months pregnancy no counter, and 3 months post partum no counter, so 11 months of TANF, does not count toward the 60 month limit.
If you are overweight, or have other health issues, you may try to get SSI - for people who never worked. If your family doctor says you are disabled, and you pursue SSI, you are not work capable, no TANF counter running. It is not uncommon for 'disable' TANF parents to pursue SSI for 5 years, before finally giving up. so the five year limit got another five years added on.
So now you are probably thinking 'Gee, all these people must be on TANF (cash assistance), getting the free ride.'
There are so many other welfare programs, they don't need TANF.
A lot of them DO NOT WANT to inconvenience the absent parent(s) by filing for child support.
On my caseload of 400 I have dozens that would be eligible for TANF, that don't even apply.
Food stamps, WIC, energy assistance, housing assistance they are doing just fine without TANF.