GAO Glossary of Terms and Definitions (September 2005)

Entitlement Authority

Authority to make payments (including loans and grants) for which budget authority is not provided in advance by appropriation acts to any person or government if, under the provisions of the law containing such authority, the U.S. government is legally required to make the payments to persons or governments that meet the requirements established by law (2 U.S.C. § 622(9)).

Under the Budget Enforcement Act (BEA), new entitlement authority was defined as direct spending and was subject to the pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) provisions. (See also Appropriated Entitlement; Authorizing Legislation; Backdoor Authority/Backdoor Spending; Budget Enforcement Act; Mandatory; Pay-as-You-Go.)

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