Sometimes families in Texas find they can't make ends meet even when family members have jobs, which is a situation that qualifies them as "low-income." To address this, there are programs to provide food, shelter and financial assistance to those in need. The same poverty guidelines used by the federal government are also used in Texas to establish a person or family as poor, though depending on the program you are interested in and where it's located, the low-income limits may vary.
Calculate your household income. Add up the total amount of money everyone in the house makes and figure out the grand total. This income amount, together with how many people are living with you and depending on this money, determines whether you are considered low income or not.
Compare your household situation to the federal poverty guidelines. Currently, a single person living on a yearly salary of $10,830 or less is considered to be in poverty. For each additional member of the household, add $3,740. For example, if you have five people in your house, you would be considered extremely low income if your combined salaries equaled $25,790 or less.
Look up the "Federal Register" for the current year. It's published by the Department of Health and Human Services and contains the most up-to-date poverty and low-income guidelines for the federal government (which are the same for Texas). The Register also contains salary qualifications for most public assistance programs. The online version of the Register has a "quick search" box to help you find this information more quickly.
Look up the specific program you want to apply for in the "Federal Register" (see Resources). Programs like Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and low-income housing programs offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will determine your low-income eligibility based on a certain percentage of the Federal poverty level.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines
- WIC: Income Eligibility Guidelines 2009-2010
- Center for Public Policy Priorities: POVERTY 101
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Poverty Guidelines.” Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
- U.S Department of Health and Human Services. "Frequently Asked Questions." Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. "SNAP Special Rules for the Elderly or Disabled." Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "Federal Poverty Level (FPL)." Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
- HealthCare.gov. “How To Save On Your Monthly Insurance Bill With A Premium Tax Credit.” Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Frequently Asked Questions Related to the Poverty Guidelines and Poverty.” Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
- University of Virginia, Miller Center. “Lyndon B. Johnson's State of the Union Address, Jan. 8, 1964.” Accessed Feb. 5, 2020.
Desdemona Delacroix has been working as a freelance author in her spare time since 2000, writing short do-it-yourself and current events articles. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Maryland University College, and she occasionally offers tutoring services in writing to undergraduate college students.