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Frequently Asked Questions

What is definition of "family" for purposes of the reference to “poverty line” in the definition of “eligible low-income individual” in FTA Circular 9050.1, “The Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) Program Guidance and Application Instructions,” May 1, 2007?

Secondly, can a mentally disabled adult who has poverty level income be transported to or from work (and this work may pay less than minimum wage under exceptions to minimum wage laws) under the JARC program if he or she lives with a family that is not in poverty when looked at as a whole? For example if the mentally able person is an adult but related to the family? Unrelated to the family?

The JARC Circular states that poverty is based on community grant regulation 673(2) of 42 USC § 9902(2) for "family" but the community grant regulation does not define “family” and instead says this is up to the specific program.

This is very important to the issue of whether we can transport these clients to work and or job skills development courses so they can become part of the community and perhaps someday live on their own. Of course there may be other grants that pay towards this transportation also, but in those cases we hope to use these non-DOT grants as matching funds.

The definition of “eligible low-income individual” in FTA’s JARC circular is derived from the same definition in the enabling legislation for the JARC program at 49 U.S.C. § 5316(a)(2) as follows:

§ 5316. Job access and reverse commute formula grants

(a) Definitions.--In this section, the following definitions apply:

(2) ELIGIBLE LOW-INCOME INDIVIDUAL.—The term ‘eligible low-income individual’ means an individual whose family income is at or below 150 percent of the poverty line (as that term is defined in section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. § 9902(2)), including any revision required by that section) for a family of the size involved.

Notably, section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act, 42 U.S.C. § 9902 defines “poverty line,” but does not “poverty.” “Poverty line” is defined as follows:

42 U.S.C. § 9902. Definitions

In this chapter:

* * * * *

(2) Poverty line

The term “poverty line” means the official poverty line defined by the Office of Management and Budget based on the most recent data available from the Bureau of the Census. The Secretary shall revise annually (or at any shorter interval the Secretary determines to be feasible and desirable) the poverty line, which shall be used as a criterion of eligibility in the community services block grant program established under this chapter. The required revision shall be accomplished by multiplying the official poverty line by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers during the annual or other interval immediately preceding the time at which the revision is made. Whenever a State determines that it serves the objectives of the block grant program established under this chapter, the State may revise the poverty line to not to exceed 125 percent of the official poverty line otherwise applicable under this paragraph.

In addition, neither the Community Services Block Grant Act nor 49 U.S.C. § 5316 defines “family.”

We do not consider “family” to be determinative of an individual’s eligibility to use JARC transportation services. Instead, it is our view that, as used in 49 U.S.C. § 5316, the term “eligible low-income individual” merely describes the type of person an eligible “access to jobs project” must be designed to support. Although Section § 5316(a)(1) defines “access to jobs project, section 5316 does not expressly limit access to JARC projects to “eligible low-income individuals” or to “welfare recipients,” another term also defined in section 5316(a). Consequently, e § Thus the eligibility criteria largely depend on the data available to the “representatives of public, private, and nonprofit transportation and human services providers” and members of the public who participated in the development of the coordinated public transit human services transportation development plan for the community involved; see, 49 U.S.C. § 5316(g)(3)(B). Thus, JARC service may also be provided to an individual living in a household that meets the poverty guidelines, even if the individuals in that household are not related by blood or marriage (e.g., group homes for adults with mental disabilities). (Revised: July 2010)