NOTE: The poverty guidelines are issued annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They are developed by smoothing the official poverty thresholds for different size families. For historical reasons, the guidelines are higher than the thresholds for Alaska (by 25%) and Hawaii (by 15%). A few programs use the official thresholds rather than the guidelines.

a Programs are listed in decreasing order of fiscal 1992 expenditures.

b Expenditures include federal, state, and local outlays for benefits and administrative costs.

c These programs also permit eligibility on the basis of 70 percent of the Department of Labor lower living standard income level for specific areas when that level is higher than the poverty guidelines.

d This program also permits eligibility on the basis of 60 percent of state median income.

e This program links eligibility to 75 percent of state median income for families of the same size.

f This program includes a provision to forgive loans to needy students who fail to complete studies, in which need is defined as a percentage of the federal poverty guidelines.

g This program also permits eligibility on the basis of a percentage of the local area median income defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

h This program accords eligibility to people with incomes below 195 percent of the Department of Labor lower living standard income level.

  • 12 of them (17%), which account for 8 percent of expenditures, determine eligibility on the basis of comparing family income to a percentage of the local area median family income defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), or, in one case, a percentage of state median income for families of the same size (see Part C of Table D-1);2

  • 31 of them (44%), which account for 34 percent of expenditures, have their own income eligibility standards or accord eligibility to people who qualify for other kinds of assistance (see Part D of Table D-1).3

For some of the 31 programs that have their own income eligibility standards, such as AFDC, Foster Care, and Aid to Refugees, the responsibility for determining income eligibility standards rests with the individual states (or localities). For other programs, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the federal portion of SSI, veterans' pensions, and various education grant and loan programs, federal standards apply.

The 14 assistance programs that use the poverty guidelines as the sole

2  

Almost all of these programs provide some type of housing assistance to low-income families. HUD prepares estimates of median family income for metropolitan areas and nonmetropolitan counties in the United States (Office of Policy Development and Research, 1992b).

3  

One program assigned to this category—the Child Development Associate Scholarship Program—does not, properly speaking, have its own income eligibility standard, but it does not fit any of the other three categories either. It accords eligibility to people with income below 195 percent of the Department of Labor lower living standard income level.



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