[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 15 (Monday, January 25, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4036-4037]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov
[FR Doc No: 2016-01450]


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DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Office of the Secretary


Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines

AGENCY: Department of Health and Human Services.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: This notice provides an update of the Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines to account for last calendar
year's increase in prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

DATES: Effective Date: January 25, 2016, unless an office administering
a program using the guidelines specifies a different effective date for
that particular program.

ADDRESSES: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and
Evaluation, Room 404E, Humphrey Building, Department of Health and
Human Services, Washington, DC 20201.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about how the
guidelines are used or how income is defined in a particular program,
contact the Federal, state, or local office that is responsible for
that program. For information about poverty figures for immigration
forms, the Hill-Burton Uncompensated Services Program, and the number
of people in poverty, use the specific telephone numbers and addresses
given below.
For general questions about the poverty guidelines themselves,
contact Kendall Swenson, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning
and Evaluation, Room 422F.5, Humphrey Building, Department of Health
and Human Services, Washington, DC 20201--telephone: (202) 690-7507--or
visit http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/.
For information about the percentage multiple of the poverty
guidelines to be used on immigration forms such as USCIS Form I-864,
Affidavit of Support, contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
at 1-800-375-5283.
For information about the Hill-Burton Uncompensated Services
Program (free or reduced-fee health care services at certain hospitals
and other facilities for persons meeting eligibility criteria involving
the poverty guidelines), contact the Health Resources and Services
Administration Information Center at 1-800-275-4772. You also may visit
http://www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/af...le/hillburton/.
For information about the number of people in poverty, visit the
Poverty section of the Census Bureau's Web site at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/poverty.html or contact the Census
Bureau's Customer Service Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll-free) and
https://ask.census.gov for further information.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

Section 673(2) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of
1981 (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)) requires the Secretary of the Department of
Health and Human Services to update the poverty guidelines at least
annually, adjusting them on the basis of the Consumer Price Index for
All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The poverty guidelines are used as an
eligibility criterion by the Community Services Block Grant program and
a number of other Federal programs. The poverty guidelines issued here
are a simplified version of the poverty thresholds that the Census
Bureau uses to prepare its estimates of the number of individuals and
families in poverty.
As required by law, this update is accomplished by increasing the
latest published Census Bureau poverty thresholds by the relevant
percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers
(CPI-U). The guidelines in this 2016 notice reflect the 0.1 percent
price increase between calendar years 2014 and 2015. After this
inflation adjustment, the guidelines are rounded and adjusted to
standardize the differences between family sizes. In rare
circumstances, the rounding and standardizing adjustments in the
formula result in small decreases in the poverty guidelines for some
household sizes even when the inflation factor is not negative. In
order to prevent a reduction in the guidelines in these rare
circumstances, a minor adjustment was implemented to the formula
beginning this year. In cases where the year-to-year change in
inflation is not negative and the rounding and standardizing
adjustments in the formula result in reductions to the guidelines from
the previous year for some household sizes, the guidelines for the
affected household sizes are fixed at the prior year's guidelines. As
in prior years, these 2016 guidelines are roughly equal to the poverty
thresholds for calendar year 2015 which the Census Bureau expects to
publish in final form in September 2016.
The poverty guidelines continue to be derived from the Census
Bureau's current official poverty thresholds; they are not derived from
the Census Bureau's new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM).
The following guideline figures represent annual income.

2016 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of
Columbia
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Poverty
Persons in family/household guideline
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1........................................................... $11,880
2........................................................... 16,020
3........................................................... 20,160
4........................................................... 24,300
5........................................................... 28,440
6........................................................... 32,580
7........................................................... 36,730
8........................................................... 40,890
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For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,160 for each
additional person.


2016 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska
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Poverty
Persons in family/household guideline
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1........................................................... $14,840
2........................................................... 20,020
3........................................................... 25,200
4........................................................... 30,380
5........................................................... 35,560
6........................................................... 40,740
7........................................................... 45,920
8........................................................... 51,120
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For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $5,200 for each
additional person.


[[Page 4037]]


2016 Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii
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Poverty
Persons in family/household guideline
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1........................................................... $13,670
2........................................................... 18,430
3........................................................... 23,190
4........................................................... 27,950
5........................................................... 32,710
6........................................................... 37,470
7........................................................... 42,230
8........................................................... 47,010
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For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,780 for each
additional person.

Separate poverty guideline figures for Alaska and Hawaii reflect
Office of Economic Opportunity administrative practice beginning in the
1966-1970 period. (Note that the Census Bureau poverty thresholds--the
version of the poverty measure used for statistical purposes--have
never had separate figures for Alaska and Hawaii.) The poverty
guidelines are not defined for Puerto Rico or other outlying
jurisdictions. In cases in which a Federal program using the poverty
guidelines serves any of those jurisdictions, the Federal office that
administers the program is generally responsible for deciding whether
to use the contiguous-states-and-DC guidelines for those jurisdictions
or to follow some other procedure.
Due to confusing legislative language dating back to 1972, the
poverty guidelines sometimes have been mistakenly referred to as the
``OMB'' (Office of Management and Budget) poverty guidelines or poverty
line. In fact, OMB has never issued the guidelines; the guidelines are
issued each year by the Department of Health and Human Services. The
poverty guidelines may be formally referenced as ``the poverty
guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42
U.S.C. 9902(2).''
Some federal programs use a percentage multiple of the guidelines
(for example, 125 percent or 185 percent of the guidelines), as noted
in relevant authorizing legislation or program regulations. Non-Federal
organizations that use the poverty guidelines under their own authority
in non-Federally-funded activities also may choose to use a percentage
multiple of the guidelines.
The poverty guidelines do not make a distinction between farm and
non-farm families, or between aged and non-aged units. (Only the Census
Bureau poverty thresholds have separate figures for aged and non-aged
one-person and two-person units.)
Note that this notice does not provide definitions of such terms as
``income'' or ``family,'' because there is considerable variation in
defining these terms among the different programs that use the
guidelines. These variations are traceable to the different laws and
regulations that govern the various programs. This means that questions
such as ``Is income counted before or after taxes?'', ``Should a
particular type of income be counted?'', and ``Should a particular
person be counted as a member of the family/household?'' are actually
questions about how a specific program applies the poverty guidelines.
All such questions about how a specific program applies the guidelines
should be directed to the entity that administers or funds the program,
since that entity has the responsibility for defining such terms as
``income'' or ``family,'' to the extent that these terms are not
already defined for the program in legislation or regulations.

Dated: January 21, 2016.
Sylvia M. Burwell,
Secretary of Health and Human Services.
[FR Doc. 2016-01450 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4150-05-P