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[Federal Register: January 23, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 14)]
[Notices]
[Page 4199-4201]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr23ja09-64]

[PDF version (3 pages) for printing.]

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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 HHS poverty guidelines
to account for last calendar year's increase in prices as measured by
the Consumer Price Index.

DATES: Effective Date: Date of publication, 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 (HHS), 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. Contact information for two frequently requested programs
is given below:

    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 Office of the Director, Division
of Facilities Compliance and Recovery, Health Resources and Services
Administration, HHS, Room 10-105, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane,
Rockville, Maryland 20857. To speak to a staff member, please call (301) 443-5656.
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/hillburton/default.htm. The
Division of Facilities Compliance and Recovery notes that as set by 42
CFR 124.505(b), the effective date of this update of the poverty
guidelines for facilities obligated under the Hill-Burton Uncompensated
Services Program is sixty days from the date of this publication.

    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 number of people in poverty or about the
Census Bureau poverty thresholds, 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 Demographic Call Center
Staff at (301) 763-2422 or 1-866-758-1060 (toll-free).

    For general questions about the poverty guidelines themselves,
contact Gordon Fisher, 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/.

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, at least annually, the poverty
guidelines, which shall be used as an eligibility criterion for the
Community Services Block Grant program. The poverty guidelines also are
used as an eligibility criterion by 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 2009 notice reflect the 3.8 percent
price increase between calendar years 2007 and 2008. 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
2009 guidelines are roughly equal to the poverty thresholds for
calendar year 2008 which the Census Bureau expects to publish in final
form in August 2009.) The guideline figures shown represent annual
income.

The 2009 Poverty Guidelines for the
48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia
Persons in family Poverty guideline
1 $10,830
2 14,570
3 18,310
4 22,050
5 25,790
6 29,530
7 33,270
8 37,010
For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,740 for each additional person.

2009 Poverty Guidelines for
Alaska
Persons in family Poverty guideline
1 $13,530
2 18,210
3 22,890
4 27,570
5 32,250
6 36,930
7 41,610
8 46,290
For families with more than 8 persons, add $4,680 for each additional person.

2009 Poverty Guidelines for
Hawaii
Persons in family Poverty guideline
1 $12,460
2 16,760
3 21,060
4 25,360
5 29,660
6 33,960
7 38,260
8 42,560
For families with more than 8 persons, add $4,300 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 have sometimes 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 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 can choose to use a percentage
multiple of the guidelines such as 125 percent or 185 percent.

    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." This is because there is considerable
variation in how different programs that use the guidelines define
these terms, traceable to the different laws and regulations that
govern the various programs. Therefore, questions about how a
particular program applies the poverty guidelines (for example, Is
income before or after taxes? Should a particular type of income be
counted? Should a particular person be counted in the family or
household unit?) should be directed to the organization that
administers the program; that organization has the responsibility for
making decisions about definitions of such terms as "income" or
"family" (to the extent that the definition is not already contained
in legislation or regulations).

    Dated: January 16, 2009.
Michael O. Leavitt,
Secretary of Health and Human Services.

[FR Doc. E9-1510 Filed 1-22-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4151-05-P


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Last updated:  02/03/11
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