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cash transfer  The direct provision of cash (in forms including checks, debit cards, and tax breaks) to eligible individuals or to providers of goods or services to eligible individuals.
contributory program (social insurance program)  A benefit provided only to those who paid the specific tax created to fund the benefit.
direct provision  A policy tool whereby the government that creates a policy hires public servants to provide the service.
direct subsidy  A cash transfer from general revenues to particular persons or private companies engaged in activities that the national government believes support the public good.
entitlement program  A government benefit guaranteed to all who meet the eligibility requirements.
environmental racism  The term for the higher incidence of environmental threats and subsequent health problems in lower income communities, which frequently are also communities dominated by people of color.
feminization of poverty  The phenomenon of increasing numbers of unmarried, divorced, and separated women with children living in poverty.
food insecurity  The situation in which people have a limited or an uncertain ability to obtain, in socially acceptable ways, enough nutritious food to live a healthy and active life.
global warming  The rising temperature of the earth as a result of pollution that traps solar heat, keeping the air warmer than it would otherwise be.
greenhouse effect  The heating of the earth's atmosphere as a result of humans' burning of fossil fuels and the resultant buildup of carbon dioxide and other gases.
housing insecurity  The situation in which people have limited or uncertain ability to obtain, in socially acceptable ways, affordable, safe, and decent-quality permanent housing.
indexed benefit  A government benefit with an automatic cost of living increase based on the rate of inflation.
in-kind assistance  A benefit program in which the recipient shops for a service provider who will accept payment from the government for the service or item purchased.
living wage  A wage high enough to keep workers and their families out of poverty and to allow them to enjoy a basic living standard.
means-tested benefit  A benefit for which eligibility is based on having an income below a specified amount, typically based on a percentage of the poverty guideline.
noncontributory program  A benefit provided to a targeted population, paid for by a proportion of the money collected from all taxpayers.
poverty guidelines  A simplified version of the poverty thresholds developed each year by the Department of Health and Human Services; used to set financial eligibility criteria for benefits.
safety net  A collection of public policies ensuring that the basic physiological needs of citizens are met.







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