Extension of the 2009 Poverty Guidelines Until at Least May 31, 2010

05/31/2010

Latest Poverty Guidelines ]
Federal Register Notice, January 22, 2010, (initial extension of guidelines until March 1) — Full text ]
Prior Poverty Guidelines and Federal Register References Since 1982 ]
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) ]
Further Resources on Poverty Measurement, Poverty Lines, and Their History ]

Congress has taken action to keep the 2009 poverty guidelines in effect until at least May 31, 2010.

Congressional actions on this matter have been in response to a decrease in the annual average Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) for 2009, projected during 2009 and announced on January 15, 2010 (see www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/cpi_01152010.pdf, Table 1A).  In the absence of legislative change, this decrease — the first since the poverty guidelines began to be issued in 1965 — would have required HHS to issue 2010 poverty guidelines that were lower than the 2009 poverty guidelines; that would have led to the “reduction in eligibility” referred to in the Congressional explanatory language quoted below.  Congress took several actions on this matter:

1.  On December 19, 2009, the Congress enacted and the President signed the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-118), which included a provision affecting the poverty guidelines.  Section 1012 of this law (as originally enacted, before subsequent amendment) stated that:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall not publish updated poverty guidelines for 2010 under section 673(2) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)) before March 1, 2010, and the poverty guidelines published under such section on January 23, 2009, shall remain in effect until updated poverty guidelines are published.

The Congressional Record (House) (December 16, 2009, p. H15370) provided the following explanation of this Congressional action in Pub. L. 111-118:

Section 1012 includes a provision to freeze the Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines at 2009 levels in order to prevent a reduction in eligibility for certain means-tested programs, including Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and child nutrition, through March 1, 2010.

A Federal Register notice about this initial extension of the 2009 poverty guidelines was published on January 22, 2010. (See Federal Register, Vol. 75, No. 14, January 22, 2010, pp. 3734-3735.)

2.  On March 2, 2010, the Congress enacted and the President signed the Temporary Extension Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-144), which included a provision affecting the poverty guidelines.  Section 7 of this law amended Section 1012 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010, by replacing “March 1, 2010” with “March 31, 2010”.  The effect of this was to extend the 2009 poverty guidelines until at least March 31, 2010.

3.  On April 15, 2010, the Congress enacted and the President signed the Continuing Extension Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-157), which included a provision affecting the poverty guidelines.  Section 6 of this law amended Section 1012 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010 (as amended by Pub. L. 111-144), by replacing “March 31, 2010” with “May 31, 2010”.  The effect of this was to extend the 2009 poverty guidelines until at least May 31, 2010.

We will provide updated information about the post-May-31 period when it becomes available.

The 2009 poverty guidelines figures that will remain in effect are given below.

NOTE:  The poverty guideline figures below are NOT the figures the Census Bureau uses to calculate the number of poor persons.
The figures that the Census Bureau uses are the poverty thresholds.

 

The 2009 Poverty Guidelines for the
48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia
Persons in familyPoverty guideline
1$10,830
214,570
318,310
422,050
525,790
629,530
733,270
837,010
For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,740 for each additional person.

 

2009 Poverty Guidelines for
Alaska
Persons in familyPoverty guideline
1$13,530
218,210
322,890
427,570
532,250
636,930
741,610
846,290
For families with more than 8 persons, add $4,680 for each additional person.

 

2009 Poverty Guidelines for
Hawaii
Persons in familyPoverty guideline
1$12,460
216,760
321,060
425,360
529,660
633,960
738,260
842,560
For families with more than 8 persons, add $4,300 for each additional person.

SOURCE:  Federal Register, Vol. 74, No. 14, January 23, 2009, pp. 4199–4201