System Settings

System Variables: Poverty Guidelines


Poverty Guidelines are set annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to determine eligibility for public programs. The guidelines are a series of income levels, with various values for family units of different sizes. 

HHS provides three sets of figures based on geographic location:

  • The 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii

The guidelines for Alaska and Hawaii are higher to account for much higher living costs in those states.

The image below shows an example of how HHS presents the guidelines on its website for a particular location and year. This image shows the guidelines for the 48 contiguous states for 2022.

In Clarity Human Services, Poverty Guidelines can be used as eligibility criteria

Note: When establishing eligibility criteria based on Poverty Guidelines, household size is calculated based on the client’s “global” household (the client-level household) and is NOT based on the number of members in a group enrollment. For more information on the client-level household, see How Do I Create a Household and Manage Members?

Reviewing/Editing Poverty Guidelines

Upon initial system setup, and annually thereafter, system administrators should check to ensure that the Poverty Guidelines in use within Clarity Human Services are up to date.

To do this, navigate to SETUP > SETTINGS > Advanced Options > System Variables and click the Poverty Guidelines tab.

Click the Edit icon next to “48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia.”

The Poverty Guidelines for the 48 contiguous states will be displayed. 

If the income levels shown on this screen are different from the most recent ones available on the HHS website, enter the current income levels.

Note: Do not enter commas, dollar signs, or decimal points. For example, if an income level is $13,590 on the HHS website, enter 13590 in the Poverty Guidelines field.


Geographical Exceptions

To add a geographical exception to any Poverty Guidelines that have been configured, click Add Exception.

On the ADD NEW POVERTY GUIDELINE screen, enter a Guideline Name, select the state from the drop-down menu, enter the income level for each family size, and click SAVE CHANGES.

Be sure to fill in an income level of “0” for the “0” household size.