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National Debt Glossary

Entitlements

Federal programs that guarantee payments to individuals who meet certain criteria set by law. The Social Security Act, for example, guarantees any American age 62 or older benefits according to a formula fixed by law.

Federal entitlement programs — with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid at the top of the list — account for more than half of all government spending.

See also: Mandatory spending

 

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