According to a Senate Research Service report from the United States Senate Budget Committee, the total spent in fiscal year 2011 on federal welfare programs was $1.03 trillion. This breaks down to about $746 billion spent by the federal government and $283 billion by state governments.
The Senate committee pointed out that this was the largest financial outlay for any federal program, including Social Security, Medicare and defense. The total represents expenditure for over 80 federal welfare programs. The biggest expense was Medicaid, the health care program for low-income individuals, at $296 billion. This was followed by the food stamp program at $75 billion. Other programs with high price tags included the earned income tax credit, the additional child tax credit, direct cash aid and supplemental security income.