The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is a measure of income level issued annually by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the United States. It is used to determine eligibility for certain government programs and benefits, such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The FPL is based on the size of a household and the number of people in it. The FPL for a household is calculated by taking into account the household's income and adjusting it for inflation. The poverty level is determined based on the income before taxes and does not include non-cash benefits such as food assistance, housing subsidies, and tax credits.
For example, for 2021, the FPL for a household of one person is $12,880 and for a household of four people it's $26,500. These figures increase for households of more people.
Eligibility for government programs such as Medicaid and CHIP are determined by comparing an individual's or family's income to the FPL. For example, if an individual's or family's income is at or below 138% of the FPL, they are eligible for Medicaid in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
It is worth noting that states set their own guidelines for Medicaid eligibility, so these figures and the Medicaid expansion may vary by state.