[Federal Register: February 15, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 31)]
[Notices]               
[Page 7555-7557]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr15fe00-83]                         

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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.

EFFECTIVE DATE: These guidelines go into effect on the day they are 
published (unless an office administering a program using the 
guidelines specifies a different effective date for that particular 
program.)

ADDRESS: 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 poverty 
guidelines are used in a particular program, contact the Federal (or 
other) office which is responsible for that program.
    For general information about the poverty guidelines (but NOT for 
information about a particular program--such as the Hill-Burton 
Uncompensated Services Program--that uses the poverty guidelines), 
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) 690-5880; 
persons with Internet access may visit the poverty guidelines Internet 
site at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/poverty.htm>.
    For information about the Hill-Burton Uncompensated Services 
Program (no-fee or reduced-fee health care services at certain 
hospitals and other health care facilities for certain persons unable 
to pay for such care), contact the Office of the Director, Division of 
Facilities Compliance and Recovery, HRSA, HHS, Room 10C-16, Parklawn 
Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857--telephone: 
(301) 443-5656 or 1-800-638-0742 (for callers outside Maryland) or 1-
800-492-0359 (for callers in Maryland); persons with Internet access 
may visit the Division of Facilities Compliance and Recovery Internet 
home page site at http://www.hrsa.gov/osp/dfcr>. 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 INS Form I-864, 
Affidavit of Support, contact the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization 
Service. To obtain information on the most recent applicable poverty 
guidelines from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, call 1-800-
375-5283. Persons with Internet access may obtain the information from 
the Immigration and Naturalization Service Internet site at http://
www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/howdoi/affsupp.htm>.
    For information about the Department of Labor's Lower Living 
Standard Income Level (a self-sufficiency criterion with the poverty 
guidelines for certain Workforce Investment Act employment and training 
programs), contact Ronald E. Putz, U.S. Department of Labor-- 
telephone: (202) 219-7694, extension 142--e-mail: rputz@doleta.gov>.
    For information about the number of people in poverty (since 1959) 
or about the Census Bureau (statistical) poverty thresholds, contact 
the HHES Division, Room 1472, Federal Office Building #3, U.S. Bureau 
of the Census, Washington, DC 20233--telephone: (301) 457-3242-- or 
send e-mail to hhes-info@census.gov>; persons with Internet access may 
visit the Poverty section of the Census Bureau's World Wide Web site at 
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html>.

2000 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of
                                Columbia
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                                                                Poverty
                     Size of family unit                       guideline
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1...........................................................     $ 8,350
2...........................................................      11,250
3...........................................................      14,150
4...........................................................      17,050
5...........................................................      19,950
6...........................................................      22,850
7...........................................................      25,750
8...........................................................      28,650
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For family units with more than 8 members, add $2,900 for each 
additional member. (The same increment applies to smaller family sizes 
also, as can be seen in the figures above.)

[[Page 7556]]



                   2000 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Poverty
                     Size of family unit                       guideline
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1...........................................................     $10,430
2...........................................................      14,060
3...........................................................      17,690
4...........................................................      21,320
5...........................................................      24,950
6...........................................................      28,580
7...........................................................      32,210
8...........................................................      35,840
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For family units with more than 8 members, add $3,630 for each 
additional member. (The same increment applies to smaller family sizes 
also, as can be seen in the figures above.)

                   2000 Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii
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                                                          Poverty
                  Size of family unit                    guideline
-------------------------------------------------------------------
1.....................................................     $ 9,590
2.....................................................      12,930
3.....................................................      16,270
4.....................................................      19,610
5.....................................................      22,950
6.....................................................      26,290
7.....................................................      29,630
8.....................................................      32,970
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For family units with more than 8 members, add $3,340 for each 
additional member. (The same increment applies to smaller family sizes 
also, as can be seen in the figures above.)

(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 primary version of the poverty measure--have never 
had separate figures for Alaska and Hawaii. The poverty guidelines 
are not defined for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American 
Samoa, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated 
States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
Islands, and Palau. In cases in which a Federal program using the 
poverty guidelines serves any of those jurisdictions, the Federal 
office which administers the program is responsible for deciding 
whether to use the contiguous-states-and-DC guidelines for those 
jurisdictions or to follow some other procedure.)

    The preceding figures are the 2000 update of the poverty guidelines 
required by section 673(2) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act 
(OBRA) of 1981 (Pub. L. 97-35). As required by law, this update 
reflects last year's change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U); it was 
done using the same procedure used in previous years.
    Section 673(2) of OBRA-1981 (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)) requires the use of 
the poverty guidelines as an eligibility criterion for the Community 
Services Block Grant program. The poverty guidelines are also used as 
an eligibility criterion by a number of other Federal programs (both 
HHS and non-HHS). 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 (formerly by the Office of Economic Opportunity/Community 
Services Administration). The poverty guidelines may be formally 
referenced as ``the poverty guidelines updated annually in the Federal 
Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under 
authority of 42 U.S.C. 9902(2).''
    The poverty guidelines are a simplified version of the Federal 
Government's statistical poverty thresholds used by the Bureau of the 
Census to prepare its statistical estimates of the number of persons 
and families in poverty. The poverty guidelines issued by the 
Department of Health and Human Services are used for administrative 
purposes--for instance, for determining whether a person or family is 
financially eligible for assistance or services under a particular 
Federal program. The poverty thresholds are used primarily for 
statistical purposes. Since the poverty guidelines in this notice--the 
2000 guidelines--reflect price changes through calendar year 1999, they 
are approximately equal to the poverty thresholds for calendar year 
1999 which the Census Bureau expects to issue in September or October 
2000. (A preliminary version of the 1999 thresholds is now available 
from the Census Bureau.)
    In certain cases, as noted in the relevant authorizing legislation 
or program regulations, a program uses the poverty guidelines as only 
one of several eligibility criteria, or uses a percentage multiple of 
the guidelines (for example, 125 percent or 185 percent of the 
guidelines.) Non-Federal organizations which use the poverty guidelines 
under their own authority in non-Federally-funded activities also have 
the option of choosing to use a percentage multiple of the guidelines 
such as 125 percent or 185 percent.
    While many programs use the guidelines to classify persons or 
families as either eligible or ineligible, some other programs use the 
guidelines for the purpose of giving priority to lower-income persons 
or families in the provision of assistance or services.
    In some cases, these poverty guidelines may not become effective 
for a particular program until a regulation or notice specifically 
applying to the program in question has been issued.
    The poverty guidelines given above should be used for both farm and 
non-farm families. Similarly, these guidelines should be used for both 
aged and non-aged units. The poverty guidelines have never had an aged/
non-aged distinction; only the Census Bureau (statistical) poverty 
thresholds have separate figures for aged and non-aged one-person and 
two-person units.

Definitions

    There is no universal administrative definition of ``family,'' 
``family unit,'' or ``household'' that is valid for all programs that 
use the poverty guidelines. Federal programs in some cases use 
administrative definitions that differ somewhat from the statistical 
definitions given below; the Federal office which administers a program 
has the responsibility for making decisions about administrative 
definitions. Similarly, non-Federal organizations which use the poverty 
guidelines in non-Federally-funded activities may use administrative 
definitions that differ from the statistical definitions given below. 
In either case, to find out the precise definitions used by a 
particular program, one must consult the office or organization 
administering the program in question.
    The following statistical definitions (derived for the most part 
from language used in U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population 
Reports, Series P60-185 and earlier reports in the same series) are 
made available for illustrative purposes only; in other words, these 
statistical definitions are not binding for administrative purposes.
    (a) Family. A family is a group of two or more persons related by 
birth, marriage, or adoption who live together; all such related 
persons are considered as members of one family. For instance, if an 
older married couple, their daughter and her husband and two children, 
and the older couple's nephew all lived in the same house or apartment, 
they would all be considered members of a single family.
    (b) Unrelated individual. An unrelated individual is a person 15 
years old or over (other than an inmate of an institution) who is not 
living with

[[Page 7557]]

any relatives. An unrelated individual may be the only person living in 
a house or apartment, or may be living in a house or apartment (or in 
group quarters such as a rooming house) in which one or more persons 
also live who are not related to the individual in question by birth, 
marriage, or adoption. Examples of unrelated individuals residing with 
others include a lodger, a foster child, a ward, or an employee.
    (c) Household. As defined by the Bureau of the Census for 
statistical purposes, a household consists of all the persons who 
occupy a housing unit (house or apartment), whether they are related to 
each other or not. If a family and an unrelated individual, or two 
unrelated individuals, are living in the same housing unit, they would 
constitute two family units (see next item), but only one household. 
Some programs, such as the Food Stamp Program and the Low-Income Home 
Energy Assistance Program, employ administrative variations of the 
``household'' concept in determining income eligibility. A number of 
other programs use administrative variations of the ``family'' concept 
in determining income eligibility. Depending on the precise program 
definition used, programs using a ``family'' concept would generally 
apply the poverty guidelines separately to each family and/or unrelated 
individual within a household if the household includes more than one 
family and/or unrelated individual.
    (d) Family Unit. ``Family unit'' is not an official U.S. Bureau of 
the Census term, although it has been used in the poverty guidelines 
Federal Register notice since 1978. As used here, either an unrelated 
individual or a family (as defined above) constitutes a family unit. In 
other words, a family unit of size one is an unrelated individual, 
while a family unit of two/three/etc. is the same as a family of two/
three/etc.
    Note that this notice no longer provides a definition of 
``income.'' This is for two reasons. First, there is no universal 
administrative definition of ``income'' that is valid for all programs 
that use the poverty guidelines. Second, in the past there has been 
confusion regarding important differences between the statistical 
definition of income and various administrative definitions of 
``income'' or ``countable income.'' The precise definition of 
``income'' for a particular program is very sensitive to the specific 
needs and purposes of that program. To determine, for example, whether 
or not taxes, college scholarships, or other particular types of income 
should be counted as ``income'' in determining eligibility for a 
specific program, one must consult the office or organization 
administering the program in question; that office or organization has 
the responsibility for making decisions about the definition of 
``income'' used by the program (to the extent that the definition is 
not already contained in legislation or regulations).

    Dated: February 9, 2000.
Donna E. Shalala,
Secretary of Health and Human Services.
[FR Doc. 00-3478 Filed 2-10-00; 2:30 pm]
BILLING CODE 4154-05-P