For those keeping track, this is a ridiculously low overhead. We are talking about vast, tens or hundred billion dollar programs with millions of recipients that spend 5% on administrative costs. Even the most inefficient of these programs, housing vouchers, spends more than 90% of its budget in actual benefits, despite the fact that is managed in cooperation with more than 2,400 state and local agencies. EITC, the biggest federal anti-poverty program, has 1% administrative costs.
All in all, those are amazing figures – even more so when taking into account that most of these administration costs come from eligibility determination, not actually bureaucracy. Means-testing programs can actually end up costing more money that it saves.