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WIOA Title I-A & I-B Policy & Procedure Manual

Low-Income Guidance

Effective date: February 15, 2022

A person is considered "low-income" if any of the following apply:

1) The person is receiving or has received assistance in the last 6 months from:

Note: The person meets this criterion if his/her family is receiving or has received any of the above assistance within the last 6 months.3

2) The person's total family income does not exceed the higher of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or 70% of the lower living standard income level (LLSIL) Guidelines.4 See Income Guidance for how to calculate income.

3) The person has a disability and his/her own income does not exceed the higher of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or 70% of the lower living standard income level (LLSIL) Guidelines.5

4) The person is homeless.6

5) The person receives or is eligible to receive a free or reduced price lunch under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act.7

NOTE: This can apply to an OSY participant who is a parent living in the same household as his/her child if the child receives or is eligible to receive free or reduced price lunch.8

NOTE: In districts where a whole school automatically receives free or reduced price lunch, WIOA programs must base low-income status on the individual student's eligibility or use one of the other low-income categories.9 The local program should check with the school district to determine if the individual student is eligible for free or reduced price lunch.10

6) The person is a foster child.11

7) The person is a WIOA Youth Program participant who lives in a high-poverty area.12

NOTE: Directions for Using American Community Survey Data to Identify High-Poverty Areas provides guidance for determining whether a geographic location is a high-poverty area.

FoodShare Wisconsin

Effective date: August 20, 2018

"FoodShare Wisconsin" helps people with limited money buy food they need for good health. FoodShare recipients are people of all ages who work but have low incomes, are living on small or fixed incomes, or have no incomes because they have lost their job, are retired, or are disabled and not able to work.

Wisconsin Works

Effective date: August 20, 2018

"Wisconsin Works" (W-2) is a limited-time program that provides temporary cash assistance and case management services to low-income parents and pregnant women who engage in work activities.

Supplemental Security Income

Effective date: August 20, 2018

"Supplemental Security Income" (SSI) is a federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It provides cash assistance to aged, blind, and disabled people who have little or no income so they can meet their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

Public Assistance

Effective date: August 20, 2018

Revised date: September 1, 2020

"Public Assistance" means federal, state, or local government cash payments where eligibility is determined by a needs or income test.

WIOA Sec. 3(50)

As WIOA does not define "cash payments," DWD-DET used definitions provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to define "cash payments" as cash or a cash equivalent, such as a debit card or check, that can be spent however the recipient choses, and is not restricted to a specific purpose like groceries or childcare.

U.S. Census Bureau (; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (

Family (20 CFR § 675.300)

Effective date: October 1, 2017

"Family" means two or more persons related by blood, marriage, or decree of court, who are living in a single residence, and are included in one or more of the following categories:

A "married couple" can either be a man and a woman or same-sex individuals. United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct.2675 (2013); 81 FR 56088

Disability (WIOA Sec. 3(25))

Effective date: August 20, 2018

"Disability" means:

  • a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working, and the operation of major bodily functions
  • a record of such impairment
  • is regarded as having such impairment (which means the individual can establish that s/he has been the subject of a discriminatory action under the American with Disabilities Act because of an actual or perceived impairment whether or not the impairment actually limits a major life activity).

WIOA Sec. 3(25); 42 U.S.C. 12102 (1)-(3)


Effective date: August 20, 2018

"Homeless" means a person who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This covers the following situations: (1) sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar; (2) living in a motel, hotel, trailer park or campground due to the lack of alternative adequate living accommodations; (3) living in an emergency or transitional shelter; (4) abandoned in a hospital; (5) awaiting foster care placement; (6) using a public or private place for nighttime residence that is not designed for or typically used by human beings for regular sleeping accommodations; (7) a child who has moved in the last 36 months either as a migratory agricultural worker or fisher or with a parent or spouse who is a migratory worker or fisher.

42 U.S.C. 14043e—2(6) ; 42 U.S.C. 11434a(2)

Foster Child

Effective date: August 20, 2018

"Foster Child" means a child who is placed for care and maintenance in a licensed foster home by:

  • the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
  • a county agency
  • a private child placement agency
  • a court (through court order)
  • voluntary placement agreement
  • voluntary transition-to-independent-living agreement

Ch. DCF 56.03(13)

High-Poverty Area

Effective date: August 20, 2018

"High-poverty area" means that one of the following has a poverty rate of at least 25 percent based on the American Community Survey 5-Year Data:

  • a county;
  • a Census tract;
  • a set of contiguous Census tracts;
  • an American Indian Reservation;
  • Oklahoma Tribal Statistical Area;
  • Alaska Native Village Statistical Area;
  • Alaska Native Regional Corporation Area;
  • Native Hawaiian Homeland Area; and
  • Other tribal land as defined by USDOL in guidance.

20 CFR § 681.260

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Effective Date: February 15, 2022

Wisconsin provides several types of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs, including the Wisconsin Works (W-2) program, in addition to programs which are partially or wholly funded through State funds.

View Current TANF Programs