Americans Got $2 Trillion in Benefits from Federal Government in 2013

Ali Meyer | August 4, 2014 | 4:53pm EDT
Font Size

U.S. currency. (AP Photo)

( -- The federal government paid $2,007,358,200,000 in benefits and entitlements in fiscal year 2013 from government programs, according to data from the Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s Monthly Treasury Statement.

The treasury statement summarizes the financial activities of the federal government, including data on government receipts, outlays, and surplus and deficit totals.  The September 2013 monthly treasury statement calculates these metrics for the entire fiscal year of 2013, which began on October 1, 2012 and ended on September 30, 2013.

According to the statement, the federal government’s total outlays, otherwise known as spending, for means-tested and non-means tested government programs -- not including administrative expenses --  totaled $2,007,611,200,000 in fiscal year 2013.

ype="node" title="programs

Most of the benefits doled out from the total of $2 trillion, or 69.7 percent, came from non-means tested government programs that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, provide benefits to recipients who qualify regardless of income.

These non-means tested government programs include Medicare, Social Security, railroad retirement, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, Veterans’ compensation and Veterans’ educational assistance. In fiscal year 2013, Americans received $1,399,253,000,000 in benefits from these programs. The two programs which contributed most to this total were Social Security, totaling $663,216,000,000 and Medicare, totaling $589,655,000,000 for a combined total of $1,252,871,000,000.

Means-tested government programs, which require income to be below a certain level to be eligible for receipt, contributed to 30.3 percent of the total amount in benefits.

Such government programs include public or subsidized rental housing, Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, otherwise known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), free and reduced lunch programs, Pell Grants, refundable tax credits and Medicaid.

These programs totaled $608,358,200,000 in fiscal year 2013.

According to the treasury statement, the federal government totaled $3,454,253,000,000 in outlays for fiscal year 2013. This number encompasses all government spending, including things like defense, highway and transportation costs, public education, immigration services and government worker salaries, to name a few.

This means that benefits, totaling $2,007,611,200,000, amounted to 58.1 percent of the total spending.

The business and economic reporting of is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

mrc merch