Texas considers seniors to be low income if they earn less than $32,904 a year, as of 2022. This is calculated using the gross pre-tax income of a single adult, and it helps establish eligibility for various support programs, including STAR+PLUS Medicaid and SNAP nutritional assistance. Households with more than one person may still be considered low income if they earn more than the number for single adults.

Low Income and Household Size in Texas

To determine what is considered low income based on household size, Texas uses the federal poverty guidelines as a starting point. As of 2022, the federal poverty line sets $1,510 a month, or $18,120 a year, as the threshold for low-income adults who live alone. This rises with an increasing household size, to $18,310 for a family of two and $23,030 for three people in the same household. Each additional person adds $6,277 a year in extra allowable income.

Texas uses these numbers as a starting point, and then it adds a percentage based on the higher than average cost of living in the state. Seniors may qualify for institutional Medicaid and Medicaid waivers with an income of $2,742 a month, for example. Married couples are allowed to apply for low-income medical coverage with up to $5,484 a month in pre-tax income. 

Variations in Low Income Among Programs

There are variations in the low-income threshold for different programs in Texas. Income eligibility and poverty level guidelines are somewhat different from one program to another, and seniors’ incomes can make them eligible for one type of assistance but not for another. SNAP, for example, allows the maximum monthly amount for seniors who earn less than $1,869 a month by themselves, or $2,518 for two adults living together. Texas low-income home energy assistance, meanwhile, sets an income threshold of $1,698.25 for single adults and $2,288.75 for a family of two.

Regional Variations Within Texas

What is considered low income varies regionally across Texas because it is such a large state. Some areas have an overall low cost of living and set a low-income threshold correspondingly low, such as Abilene, which has a 2022 low-income housing assistance threshold of $14,900 a year. More expensive areas set higher limits for low-income seniors, up to $23,200 a year in Austin, for example.