criterion. Of these programs, 12 of them, which account for 8 percent of total expenditures, determine income eligibility on the basis of comparing household income to a percentage of state or local area median family income. Examples are Section 8 Low-Income Housing Assistance and Rural Housing Loans. Finally, 31 programs, which account for 34 percent of total expenditures, have their own income eligibility standards. Examples are AFDC, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans' pensions, and Stafford Loans.
The 27 programs that link eligibility for some or all applicants to the poverty thresholds or guidelines differ on a number of dimensions. These, in turn, have implications for using the proposed poverty measure for eligibility determination. One dimension is how the benefits are related to income. Some programs have a poverty-based income test simply to determine eligibility and do not further condition benefits for eligible people on the amount of their income. In other words, these programs provide an all-or-nothing service (examples are Head Start and Legal Services). Other programs do condition benefits on the amount of an applicant's income. For example, the Food Stamp Program reduces the dollar amount of the coupons provided to recipients in direct relationship to their ''countable" income. Such programs as Maternal and Child Health Services charge recipients for services on a sliding scale: some people pay nothing, others pay a fraction of the costs, and still others pay full costs, depending on broad income-to-poverty guideline categories.
A second dimension is the complexity of the method for measuring applicants' incomes. Programs that provide an all-or-nothing benefit often have a fairly simple application form that does not ask applicants for extensive detail about income sources. Many programs that charge recipients for services on a sliding scale are also in this category. In contrast, the Food Stamp Program, which calibrates benefits quite closely to income, includes an elaborate process to determine applicants' gross income and their net income after allowable deductions.
Another distinction is between entitlement and nonentitlement programs. Entitlement programs (e.g., Medicaid, food stamps, School Lunch, and School Breakfast) must provide benefits to all eligible applicants. However, many of the programs that link eligibility to the poverty guidelines (e.g., Head Start, Legal Services) are not entitlements. These programs do not guarantee to provide services to all eligible families; rather, legislatively set budget limits determine how many eligible people who apply for services will actually be assisted and how many will be put on a waiting list.
Finally, programs vary in whether they use 100 percent or a multiple of the poverty guidelines as the basis for determining eligibility (see Table 7-2). For example, Head Start has an income cutoff of 100 percent of the poverty guidelines, but Legal Services has a cutoff of 125 percent, and Special Programs for Students with Disadvantaged Backgrounds has a cutoff of 150 per