Within the federal eligibility parameters of CCDF, states have flexibility in setting income eligibility guidelines, parental co-payment fees, reimbursement rates to child care providers, target populations receiving priority for services, the number of work or education/training hours required, and the length of certification periods.8 Based on state-defined eligibility rules for fiscal year 2011, the average initial income eligibility limits for three-person families across the 50 states and the District of Columbia was $2,800.9 Some states allow counties and other localities to set income eligibility limits lower than the limit set by the state. Some states also allow higher income eligibility limits for families already receiving child care subsidies.
8 Based on data from ACF’s CCDF Policies Database as of October 1, 2011, recipient eligibility was redetermined every twelve months in 22 states and every six months in 27 states.
9 The range of income eligibility limits is based on data as of October 1, 2011. In some states eligibility limits differ for certain groups, such as TANF and SSI recipients. Expressed in terms of state median income, state limits for initial income eligibility in CCDF plans for fiscal year 2011 ranged from 35 percent to 80 percent of state median income. This estimate of state median income for fiscal year 2011 is based on the U.S. Census Bureau calculations published in the Federal Register: May 12, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 91). While the law restricts eligibility to children from families below 85 percent of state median income, states are able to determine the method used to calculate state median income which may differ from the method used in this issue brief.