The federal government currently funds more than 100 anti‐poverty programs. While no one participates in all of them, many can and do collect assistance from multiple programs.
In Massachusetts, a mother with two children under the age of 5 who participates in six major welfare programs (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps), housing assistance, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and free commodities) would receive a benefits package worth $32,595 per year.
Using a similar measure, the study found that benefits in Europe ranged from $38,588 per year in Denmark to just $1,112 in Romania. In fact, Massachusetts’ welfare system can be more generous than every country included except Denmark. The benefits package is higher than that in France ($17,324), Germany ($23,257) and even‐Sweden ($22,111). Moreover, this benefit package doesn’t include Medicaid, which would be worth roughly $9,920 for this household, because Europe’s health care systems are not targeted just to the poor, unlike Medicaid.