Eligibility for free legal aid is determined by the court in criminal and juvenile rights practices, or, in civil practices, according to the federal Department of Health and Human Services' poverty guidelines. In the latter case, the Legal Aid Society administers free legal aid to those people with incomes not exceeding 125 percent of the federal poverty level.
Exceptions are sometimes made for people who are older than 60 years of age or for those in need of special assistance, if their income exceeds 125 percent but not 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The federal poverty level is revised annually. As a general guide, in 2015 it was set at $11,770 for a single-person household and $28,410 for a five-person household.