Head Start Program Definition of Income Policy Number and Last Update
(02.02.02/01-2011)

Income means total cash receipts before taxes from all sources, with the exceptions noted below: Money wages or salary before deductions; net income from non-farm self-employment; net income from farm self-employment; regular payments from Social Security or railroad retirement; payments from unemployment compensation; strike benefits from union funds; worker's compensation; veteran's benefits (with the exceptions noted below), public assistance (including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families - TANF, Supplemental Security Income - SSI, Emergency Assistance money payments, and non-Federally funded General Assistance or General Relief money payments); training stipends; alimony; child support; military family allotments or other pensions; government employee pensions (including military retirement pay); regular insurance or annuity payments; college or university scholarships; grants; fellowships and assistantships; dividends; interest; net rental income; net royalties; periodic receipts from estates or trusts; and net gambling or lottery winnings.

As defined here, income does not include: capital gains; any assets drawn down as withdrawals from a bank, the sale of property, a house or car; tax refunds; gifts; loans; lump-sum inheritances; one-time insurance payments; compensation for injury; non-cash benefits, such as the employer-paid or union-paid portion of health insurance or other employee fringe benefits; food or housing received in lieu of wages; the value of food and fuel produced and consumed on farms; the imputed value of rent from owner-occupied non-farm or farm housing; Federal non-cash benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches, or housing assistance; certain disability payments made to disabled children of Vietnam veterans as prescribed by the Secretary of Veteran's Affair.

The period of time to be considered for eligibility is the twelve months immediately preceding the month in which application or reapplication for enrollment of a child in a Head Start program is made, or for the calendar year, immediately preceding the calendar year in which the application or reapplication is made, whichever more accurately reflects the family's current needs.

Federal Poverty Guidelines