From CNS News:
The federal government spent enough money on federal means-tested welfare programs to have sent each impoverished household a check for nearly $60,000, according to figures from the Census Bureau and the Congressional Research Service(CRS).
According to a report from the CRS produced for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), $1 trillion was spent on federal welfare programs during fiscal year 2011 – with $746 billion in federal funds and $254 in state matching funds.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that there were approximately 16.8 million households living below the federal poverty level of $23,000 per year for a family of four in 2011. ( See: 2011 Households Below Poverty 2011.pdf )
If each of the estimated 16.8 million households with income below the poverty level were to have received an equal share of the total welfare spending for fiscal year 2011, they each would have received $59,523.
If only the 2011 federal share of welfare spending (no state matching funds) were spent as direct cash payments, each household would have received $44,404, which is nearly double the federal poverty level for a family of four.