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In this review, we focus on current research on the major welfare program in the United States, food security programs, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Unemployment Insurance, child support, and tax provisions such as the Earned Income Tax Credit that provide substantial financial support for low-income households and other potentially vulnerable populations such as the elderly and the unemployed. Since many of these are programs specifically targeted at poor and low-income individuals, we also describe how poverty is defined in the United States, update readers on the ongoing debate over poverty measurement, and provide some comparison to how it is measured outside the United States. Looking across the various social policies addressed in this review and the associated recent research, one clear theme emerges: the United States is very concerned about work disincentives potentially embedded within these programs.