A single senior in New Hampshire is considered low-income if they have an income equal to or less than $928 per month. For couples, that income limit is $1,372 per month. These figures are based on Medicaid eligibility in 2023. Around 15,000 New Hampshire seniors live in poverty, which is 6.2% of the state’s older population. 

How Low Income is Calculated

There are two main measures of poverty in the U.S.:

  • Poverty Threshold: measured by the Census Bureau and used for official statistics
  • Federal Poverty Guidelines: set by the Department of Health and Human Services and used to determine eligibility for government programs 

Federal poverty guidelines are based on the Census’s poverty threshold and are generally expressed as a percentage of that threshold. A person is usually considered low-income if they earn less than 200% of the threshold. However, these guidelines are affected by age and the composition of the household. The government uses two measures for the poverty threshold. The first is the official measure. Created in 1963, it is set at three times the cost of a minimum food diet in that year. The figure is adjusted for family size and updated based on the consumer price index. The supplemental poverty measure was introduced in 2010 to reflect modern life, and it’s based on expenditures for food, clothing, shelter and utilities.

What Counts as Income?

People applying for benefits should understand what counts as income when determining eligibility. It does change depending on the program, but generally includes all money that a person receives, such as:

  • Wages
  • Rental income
  • Social security benefits
  • Retirement benefits or pensions
  • Alimony

Many government programs have both income and resource limits. To be eligible for Medicaid in New Hampshire, applicants must have resources of less than $1,500 and meet the income limits. Some major assets aren’t included among resources, including an automobile, funeral trust and a person’s principal place of residence. The income limit also changes depending on the program. For example, the figures above are for people living at home. Limits are higher for people who need nursing home care. Means-tested programs that don’t base eligibility on federal poverty guidelines include Supplemental Security Income, Section 8 low-income housing assistance and many state-funded programs.