Federal Mandatory Spending for Means-Tested Programs, 2008 to 2028
Outlays for mandatory means-tested programs would grow over the next decade at an average annual rate of 4 percent, whereas spending for mandatory non–means-tested programs would grow at an average rate of 6 percent, CBO projects.
CBO projects that, if current laws generally remained unchanged, federal outlays for mandatory means-tested programs (programs and tax credits that provide cash payments or other assistance to people with relatively low income or few assets)—estimated to total $0.7 trillion in 2018—would grow over the next decade at an average annual rate of 4 percent, whereas spending for mandatory non–means-tested programs—totaling $2.1 trillion in 2018—would grow at an average annual rate of 6 percent. Among the mandatory programs, the largest means-tested ones are Medicaid, the earned income and child tax credits (which are refundable), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Supplemental Security Income. The largest non–means-tested ones are Social Security, most of Medicare, and civilian and military retirement programs.
A pair of tables accompanying this short report show CBO’s baseline projections and historical data for such programs.