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What is meant by “low-income individual”?

FTA encourages the use of a locally developed threshold, such as that used for FTA’s grant program, or a percentage of median income for the area, provided that the threshold is at least as inclusive as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines. Public Law 112-141 (MAP-21), revises 49 U.S.C. § 5302 to include a definition of “low-income individual” to mean “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.” The definition in chapter 53 does not have broad applicability to FTA or DOT programs, such as Title VI and Environmental Justice. FTA’s Title VI circular uses the more narrow definition: a person whose median household income is at or below the HHS poverty guidelines. This is the same definition DOT uses in the environmental justice order and other documents. In FTA’s Environmental Justice circular, we encourage recipients to use a more inclusive definition, but do not require the more inclusive assessment as long as the HHS poverty guideline is applied.