Poverty Scales

Poverty Scales in LegalServer are used to calculate percentage of poverty for each new intake based on the intake date.

Administrators change the poverty scale information on the Admin > Poverty Scales page.

Each organization must maintain the Poverty Scales on its site. The Poverty Scales feature is set up this way because organizations adopt new poverty guidelines on different dates (some immediately upon publication in the Federal Register, some only after board adoption, etc.).

Calculations are made using the case's intake date, not the current date or the date opened.

More information about the federal poverty guidelines can be found on the Dept. of Health and Human Services site.

Why You Should Care About This

During intake, if there is no poverty scale entry matching the intake date, the financial information is not displayed. It is replaced with a message for the user to contact the site administrator about the poverty scales. In addition, if the user continues with the intake, they will not be able to accept the intake as a case.

Sites that do not care about calculating percentage of poverty, and don't want to update the poverty scales every year, can make the end date for the current poverty scale some date far in the future.

Note: The Base Income and Increment values must be the guidelines for 100% of poverty. Do not enter amounts from a chart showing the figures for some other amount such as 125% or 200%. An agency's poverty cap of 125% or some other amount is entered in the financial and eligibility blocks.

Synchronize Button

The Synchronize button on the Poverty Scales page will create scale entries for at least the current and previous year, removing any conflicting entries. Using the button is optional. You can manually add and edit entries, including entries created by the button. The Synchronize feature knows if your site is in Alaska or Hawaii and uses the correct amounts.

Manually Editing

Poverty scale entries cannot have overlapping dates. To manually add a new row, first adjust the End Date on the existing row(s), then add a new row.

Note: Do not enter the literal "N/A"s shown in the screenshots below, and that you will see displayed on screen. When appropriate (which is usually), leave the Range End value blank.

Tip: Do not end the current poverty scale(s) on December 31. If you do, intake will grind to a halt on the first work day of the new year when people can't see the financial information or accept cases. Extend it to a date like March 1. Any date will work, you (or the Synchronize button) will be overwriting it the following year.

For History Buffs Only


2017 saw a return to a single base amount and increment by HHS. Therefore you only need one row for 2017 in the poverty scales:

If you manually update the scales, first edit the three 2016 entries and enter an appropriate end date (1/23/2017 if your organization adopts new guidelines on the publication date). Then enter the new 2017 row as above (using the appropriate amounts if you are in Hawaii or Alaska).

2016 Change by HHS

Before 2016, the poverty guidelines published by HHS were a base amount for a household and then an even increment for each additional person in the household. You only needed one row for each year in your poverty scales.

The 2016 guidelines follow that for households from 1 to 6, but use a different increment for a household of 7, and yet a different increment for a household of 8 and above. You need 3 rows in your poverty scales for 2016 to accommodate this change.

NB: The update that adds the household size range to each entry is effective 3/4/2016 for sites on the weekly update schedule, 4/1/2016 for sites on the monthly schedule.

The poverty scales on your site should look like this for 2016, adjusting the dates (if needed) for your organization (and the amounts if you are in Alaska or Hawaii):

Did this answer your question? Thanks for the feedback There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again later.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us