Benefits which are available only to claimants whose income or assets fall below some limit. These are contrasted with universal benefits, which are available to everybody in particular categories, for example based on age, regardless of income or assets. With means-testing, expenditure can be targeted to those in most need, and the level of benefits can be much larger relative to universal benefits for a given expenditure. The argument against means-testing is that means tests are intrusive and expensive to administer.
|Reference: Oxford Press Dictonary of Economics, 5th edt.|