Means Test

A means test is a method of determining if a person or family is eligible to receive assistance from the government. This is determined by how much an individual or family earns compared to how many live there. The means test is commonly used in bankruptcy proceedings.

In some countries the means test can also be a source to obtain relief for those who cannot make their house payments. During the Great Depression in the United States this was done for the Home Relief program, and is used currently for programs such as Welfare, Women Infants and Children (WIC), and Food Stamps.

Overall, the programs are often progressive, benefiting those with lower or no incomes who may or may not do any kind of work or contribute even a modicum of personal responsibility while being funded by those with higher incomes.

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