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An entitlement is a federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the federal government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security, veterans' compensation, and government pensions are examples of entitlement programs.[1]

Entitlement spending can also be referred to as non-discretionary spending or mandatory spending, and does not require an annual appropriation, or vote from Congress, as discretionary spending does.

In 2013, 62% of the Federal budget went for non-discretionary, mandatory spending.[2]

See also


  1. [1] US Senate Reference
  2. http://nationalpriorities.org/media/uploads/federal_budget_101/Figure8.3.png