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  • News: Department of Health and Human Services Annual Update of the Poverty Guidelines

    Federal Register, Volume 80 Issue 14 (Thursday, January 22, 2015)
    [Federal Register Volume 80, Number 14 (Thursday, January 22, 2015)]
    [Notices]
    [Pages 3236-3237]
    From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
    [FR Doc No: 2015-01120]
    
    
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    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.
    
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    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 22, 2015, 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 404E, 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. To receive a Hill-
    Burton information package, call 1-800-638-0742 (for callers outside 
    Maryland) or 1-800-492-0359 (for callers in Maryland). You also may 
    visit http://www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/affordable/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) or visit 
    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
    
    [[Page 3237]]
    
    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 2015 notice reflect the 1.6 percent 
    price increase between calendar years 2013 and 2014. After this 
    inflation adjustment, the guidelines are rounded and adjusted to 
    standardize the differences between family sizes. The same calculation 
    procedure was used this year as in previous years. (Note that these 
    2015 guidelines are roughly equal to the poverty thresholds for 
    calendar year 2014 which the Census Bureau expects to publish in final 
    form in September 2015.)
        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.
    
    2015 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of
                                    Columbia
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Poverty
                   Persons in family/household                   guideline
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1.......................................................         $11,770
    2.......................................................          15,930
    3.......................................................          20,090
    4.......................................................          24,250
    5.......................................................          28,410
    6.......................................................          32,570
    7.......................................................          36,730
    8.......................................................          40,890
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,160 for each
      additional person.
    
    
                       2015 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Poverty
                   Persons in family/household                   guideline
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1.......................................................         $14,720
    2.......................................................          19,920
    3.......................................................          25,120
    4.......................................................          30,320
    5.......................................................          35,520
    6.......................................................          40,720
    7.......................................................          45,920
    8.......................................................          51,120
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $5,200 for each
      additional person.
    
    
                       2015 Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Poverty
                   Persons in family/household                   guideline
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1.......................................................         $13,550
    2.......................................................          18,330
    3.......................................................          23,110
    4.......................................................          27,890
    5.......................................................          32,670
    6.......................................................          37,450
    7.......................................................          42,230
    8.......................................................          47,010
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    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 16, 2015.
    Sylvia M. Burwell,
    Secretary of Health and Human Services.
    [FR Doc. 2015-01120 Filed 1-21-15; 8:45 am]
    BILLING CODE 4150-05-P
    
    
    
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