Eligibility Guidelines

Participating in Head Start

The U.S. Administration for Children and Families has developed strict income eligibility guidelines for participation in Head Start. Most families must have incomes at or below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level to participate in Head Start; however, a limited number of families with incomes up to 130 percent of the FPL may be eligible. 

Please speak with us to determine eligibility.

Rutland County Head Start takes the verification of eligibility for Head Start services very seriously. In addition to a written application and personal intake process, we require documentation of household income to determine eligibility. If you have any questions, one of our Family Support Specialists will help you.

2022 Annual Household Income Limits (before taxes)

Household Size*100% Poverty Guideline130% Poverty Guideline
* Always check with the appropriate managing agency to ensure the most accurate guidelines.

Head Start Program Definition of Income

Income means total cash receipts before taxes from all sources, with the exceptions noted below.

Income includes 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, workers' compensation, veterans benefits (with the exception noted below), public assistance (including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, Emergency Assistance money payments, and non-Federally funded General Assistance or General Relief money payments); training stipends; alimony, child support, and military family allotments or other regular support from an absent family member or someone not living in the household; private pensions, government employee pensions (including military retirement pay), and regular insurance or annuity payments; college or university scholarships, grants, fellowships, and assistantships; and dividends, interest, net rental income, net royalties, and 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 a car; or tax refunds, gifts, loans, lump-sum inheritances, one-time insurance payments, or compensation for injury. Also excluded are noncash 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; and such Federal non-cash benefit programs as Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches, and housing assistance, and certain disability payments made to disabled children of Vietnam veterans as prescribed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

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.