< Back to Search

LIHEAP IM 2010-14 State-Level Recipiency Targeting Indexes and Rankings in FY 2007

Published: August 6, 2010
Audience:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Category:
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Information Memorandums (IM)

Transmittal No.  LIHEAP-IM-2010-14         Date:  August 6, 2010

 

TO: LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP)STATE GRANTEES

GUIDANCE
INTENDED FOR:
         __X__STATES

                                   _____TRIBES/TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS

                                   _____TERRITORIES

SUBJECT: Data on State-Level Recipiency Targeting Indexes and Rankings for Elderly and Young Child Households that Received Heating Assistance in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2007

RELATED REFERENCES: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Act, as amended (Title XXVI of Public Law 97-35, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, as amended); 45 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 96; Final Rule amending HHS block grant regulations (64 Federal Register, 55843, October 15, 1999); Government Performance Results Act of 1993 (Public Law 103-62); LIHEAP AT-2008-4, dated June 21, 2008; LIHEAP IM-2009-03, dated January 26, 2009

PURPOSE: To transmit State-level data on recipiency targeting indexes and rankings for elderly and young child households that received in FFY 2007 LIHEAP heating assistance, which is the largest component of LIHEAP assistance.

BACKGROUND: This is the second year that OCS has developed the national recipiency targeting index to quantify the level of household participation in LIHEAP. OCS developed national recipiency targeting indexes for receipt of heating assistance by eligible vulnerable households with either an elderly person (60 years or older) or young child (five years or under) during FY 2006.1 The recipiency targeting indexes are proxies for long-term, health and safety outcome measures. Outcome measures are a crucial component of annual program performance reporting under the Government Performance Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 (Public Law 103-62).

LIHEAP Action Transmittal, LIHEAP AT-2008-4, dated June 21, 2008, provided each State with its heating recipiency targeting indexes and rankings for elderly and young child households that received heating assistance households in FFY 2006. The indexes and rankings were computed separately for the Federal maximum income standard and the State’s income maximum.2 The AT requested each State to review and comment on its heating assistance recipiency targeting indexes and national rankings for FFY 2006. Several corrections were made to the data based on the reviews and OCS disseminated the final FFY 2006 State targeting indexes and rankings on May 26, 2009 through LIHEAP-IM-2009-09. This IM provides updated data and analysis for FFY 2007.

There has been one major change in the method of calculating the State-level targeting indexes. The 2006 indexes were based on two-years of American Community Survey (ACS) estimates of the number of State LIHEAP income eligible populations; whereas, for 2007, the indexes were based on three years of those population estimates. This change should result in more precise estimates and recipiency targeting indexes.

CONTENT: State-Level Recipiency Targeting Indexes, Rankings, and Analysis Overall, the data indicate that half of the States ranking in the top ten for targeting one vulnerable group, consistently ranked near the bottom for targeting the other vulnerable group. One reason for this could be that activities are — intentionally or unintentionally—focused primarily on one vulnerable group rather than equal focus on both vulnerable groups. Another possibility could be that benefit amounts are higher for one vulnerable group compared to the other.

Unlike FY 2006, however, no State ranked low in targeting both groups. One State ranked high for targeting both groups, as shown in Table 2. The States listed in Table 3 are ranked as the highest performing States for one vulnerable group. Table 3 is based on each State’s upper confidence interval value (rounding up) in order to give States credit for the highest possible targeting index. The upper confidence limits for each State can be found in Attachment B (Tables 1-4). The groupings of States into low, moderate, and high, is for relative comparison purposes.

Table 2: Highest Ranked State for Recipiency Targeting of Both Vulnerable Groups
INCOME CUTOFF
HIGHEST RANKED STATE
Federal Maximum LIHEAP Income District of Columbia
State Maximum LIHEAP Income District of Columbia

As seen in Figures 1-4 of Attachment A, the following States obtained the statistically significant highest ranking for recipiency targeting performance:

Table 3: Highest Ranked State for Recipiency Targeting for One Vulnerable Group
INCOME CUTOFF ELDERLY TARGETING YOUNG CHILD TARGETING*
Federal Maximum
LIHEAP Income Standard
Georgia Colorado
Connecticut
Florida
Iowa
Massachusetts
Montana
North Carolina
North Dakota
Delaware
District of Columbia
New Hampshire
South Dakota
Vermont
West Virginia
Wisconsin
State Maximum LIHEAP Income Standard Georgia Colorado
Connecticut
Florida
Delaware
District of Columbia
Iowa
Massachusetts
Montana
New Hampshire
North Carolina
North Dakota
Vermont
Wisconsin

* These States all had a targeting index with overlapping confidence intervals, meaning there is no statistical difference in their targeting index value.

Some States’ targeting indexes may be inflated due to differences in how income is calculated. For example, States that determine eligibility based on net income, rather than gross income, may have targeting indexes that are overinclusive of the target populations served compared with other States that relied on gross income. Therefore, more households may appear to be served within the State income maximum than would have been included using gross income. Even among States using net income, there may be differences in the respective targeting indexes due to differences in how each State defines net income, i.e., the range of income exclusions that a State permits.

Irrespective of which LIHEAP income standard is applied, the data demonstrate that about 14 percent of all State LIHEAP grantees are consistently targeting both vulnerable groups at a high level. This shows that most State LIHEAP grantees are either targeting both groups at a moderate level or targeting each group inconsistently, i.e., one group at a high level and the other at a low level.

The next table displays in alphabetical order the States that are ranked as high performing States for both elderly households and young child households. This is again based on the each State’s upper confidence interval limit (rounding up) to ensure that each State’s performance is based on its highest possible achievement.

Table 4: States Ranking as High Performing States for Recipiency Targeting of Both Vulnerable Groups
INCOME CUTOFF
HIGH TARGETING INDEX STATES
Federal Maximum
LIHEAP Income
Standard
Alaska
District of Columbia
Mississippi
Oregon
South Dakota
Wyoming
State Maximum LIHEAP Income Standard Alaska
District of Columbia
Minnesota
Mississippi
Oregon
South Dakota
Utah
Wyoming

Performance Classifications

Generally, recipiency targeting indexes of 101 or greater indicate that a low income vulnerable group is adequately targeted compared to its representation in the total low income population. 

Elderly Households:  The targeting data on elderly households have been grouped in the following performance categories in relation to the 101 mark and the national performance goal:

  • High: A State having a point estimate or its upper confidence interval limit that is equal to or greater than 101 (which reflects that this population is served in a proportion greater than it is represented in the total income eligible population);
  • Moderate: A State having a point estimate or its upper confidence interval limit that is between 82 and 100 (where 82 is the lowest expectation for the national recipiency targeting index through FY 2014 and 100 is the point at which this population is served in a proportion equal to or less than its representation in the total income eligible population); and
  • Low: A State having a point estimate or its upper confidence interval limit that is lower than 82 (which reflects that this population is not being served at either the national goal level or in a proportion equal to or greater than its representation in the total income eligible population). 

Charts 1 and 2 show the number and percentage of States ranking high, moderate, and low in LIHEAP targeting of low income elderly households for heating assistance.

Chart 1:  Federal Maximum LIHEAP Income Standards—Targeting Ranking for Low Income Elderly Households, FFY 2007

Federal Maximum LIHEAP Income Standards—Targeting Ranking for Low Income Elderly Households, FFY 2007


Chart 2:  State Maximum LIHEAP Income Standards—Targeting Ranking for Low Income Elderly Households, FFY 2007
 

Chart 2:  State Maximum LIHEAP Income Standards—Targeting Ranking for Low Income Elderly Households, FFY 2007


A comparative analysis of the charts shows that more States are categorized as having a high elderly recipiency targeting index if the State LIHEAP income standard is used to compute the number of LIHEAP income eligible households. For most States, using the State maximum income reduces the percent of LIHEAP income eligible households that are elderly and increases the elderly recipiency targeting index.

Young Child Households:  The targeting data on low income young child households have been grouped into the following performance categories in relation to the 100 adequate mark and the national performance goal:

 

  • High:  A State having a point estimate or an upper confidence interval limit that is equal to or greater than 112 (which is the lowest expected goal for the national recipiency targeting index through FY 2014)
  • Moderate:  A State having a point estimate or an upper confidence interval limit that is between 101 and 111 (which reflects that the State is serving this population in a proportion greater than it is represented in the total income eligible population); and
  • Low:  A States having a point estimate or an upper confidence interval limit that is equal to or lower than 100 (which indicates that this population is being served in a proportion equal to or less than its representation in the total income eligible population).

Charts 3 and 4 show for FFY 2006 the number and percentage of States ranking high, moderate, and low in LIHEAP targeting of low income young child  households for heating assistance.

Chart 3:  Federal Maximum LIHEAP Income Standards—Targeting Ranking for Low Income Young Child Households, FFY 2007
 

Federal Maximum LIHEAP Income Standards


Chart 4:  State Maximum LIHEAP Income Standards—Targeting Ranking for Low Income Young Child Households, FFY 2007
 

Chart 4:  State Maximum LIHEAP Income Standards—Targeting Ranking for Low Income Young Child Households, FFY 2007


A comparative analysis of the charts indicates that slightly fewer States are categorized as having a high young child recipiency targeting index if the State maximum income standard is used to compute the number of LIHEAP eligible households.  For most States, using the State income standard increases the percent of LIHEAP income eligible households that are young child and reduces the young child recipiency targeting index.

Future Plans for Reporting State-Level Recipiency Targeting Indexes and Rankings

OCS is planning to recognize States that perform well in targeting both groups beginning with the FFY 2010 State-level targeting indexes that will be available in the summer of 2011.  OCS selected FFY 2010 as the first program year to recognize high performing States because it is the first year that State grantees would have had an opportunity to adjust their State targeting plans in response to the data from the FFY 2006 State targeting indexes and rankings.  State-level targeting indexes and rankings were not available prior to FFY 2005.

Organization of Data Tables and Figures

The attached figures show separate rankings of all States depending upon which household group and which income cutoff is being analyzed.  The attached tables provide the data values for the rankings, including the point estimate, the confidence interval upper and lower limits, and the numerical rankings for each State.  All figures are in Attachment A and all tables are in Attachment B.

Table 5: Organization of State Recipiency Targeting Indexes and Rankings

Income Cutoff
Elderly Households
Young Child Households
Federal Income Maximum Figure 1
Table 1
Table 5
Figure 3
Table 3
Table 5
State Income Standard Figure 2
Table 2
Table 6
Figure 4
Table 4
Table 6

Relation of State-Level Targeting Indexes to the National Targeting Indexes In response to program performance monitoring required under GPRA, in FFY 2003, OCS calculated the baseline (initial data) national recipiency targeting indexes for elderly households as 79 and young child households as 122, under the Federal LIHEAP income maximum. Beginning in FFY 2004, OCS has tracked the actual indexes achieved nationwide for both household types compared to the annual performance goals set for each index. OCS reports annually on the performance goals and indexes achieved to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Table 1: FFY 2007 National LIHEAP Performance Goals and Actual Targeting Indexes Achieved
FFY 2007 Targeting Measures
Baseline FFY 2003 National Data
National
Performance Goals
Actual National Indexes Achieved3
Elderly Households 79 94 78
Young Child Households 122 122 110
 

The data indicate the need for national improvement in LIHEAP performance targeting for both household groups. As a block grant program, the improvement in nationwide targeting performance is based upon the targeting performance of each State. By providing each State’s indexes and rankings here, we hope that States can use the information as a management tool and adjust their efforts as needed to ensure improvement on the program across States.

Based on the most inclusive income standards applied, approximately 23 States4 met or exceeded the FFY 2007 national recipiency targeting index goal for elderly households. Twenty-five States5 met or exceeded the FFY 2007 national recipiency targeting goal for young child households.

Purpose of State-Level Recipiency Targeting Indexes

The reporting of State recipiency targeting indexes serves the following purposes:

  • to track and report on the elderly and young child households recipiency targeting performance measures;
  • as feedback to States on where improvements can be made in meeting or exceeding future national recipiency LIHEAP targeting index goals;
  • as feedback to States on how well they are targeting vulnerable households relative to other States;
  • to allow each State to assess its recipiency targeting performance with respect to its income eligible elderly and young child populations with respect to heating assistance; and
  • to allow for examination of the program design features of those State LIHEAP programs that achieved higher rankings.

How the indexes and rankings are calculated

Heating recipiency targeting indexes for each State have been calculated as follows:

  • calculate the percent of LIHEAP heating assisted households that are members of the target group (as obtained from the State’s LIHEAP Household Reports);
  • divide that percent by the percent of all LIHEAP-income eligible households that are members of the target group in the State; and
  • multiply the result by 100.

For example, if 25 percent of LIHEAP assisted households are elderly households and 20 percent of all income eligible households are elderly households, the recipiency targeting index for elderly households is 125 (25 divided by 20 multiplied by 100). A State's recipiency targeting index indicates whether its LIHEAP program is serving a target group of households at a higher rate (recipiency targeting index greater than 100) or at a lower rate (recipiency targeting index less than 100) than all LIHEAP income eligible households that are members of the target group.

In other words, the recipiency targeting indexes measure whether the program is serving each of these two types of households at a higher or lower rate than their prevalence in the low income target household population. The calculation of State-level recipiency targeting indexes and rankings rely on:

  • The 2005, 2006 and 2007 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) statistical estimates of the number of State LIHEAP income eligible (low income) populations and both vulnerable household types; and
  • FFY 2007 State-reported numbers of heating assistance households, including for both vulnerable populations.

Based on each State’s FY 2007 heating assistance targeting index, the States were ranked from high to low at the Federal LIHEAP maximum income standard and State LIHEAP maximum income standard for elderly and young child households.

The recipiency targeting indexes and rankings include the estimate as well as the upper and lower limits around the estimate using a 95 percent confidence  interval, i.e., we are 95 percent confident that the actual recipiency targeting index for a particular State falls within the lower and upper limits surrounding the estimate.  As explained further in Attachment C, the breadth of the confidence interval ranges should be smaller for FFY 2007 than they were in FFY 2006 because the income eligible household population estimates are now based on three years of ACS data rather than two years of estimates.  Confidence intervals which overlap between or among States indicate that the difference in the targeting index estimates for those States are not statistically significant.  

The width of the confidence interval will vary depending on a number of factors.  In general, confidence intervals for smaller States are wider than for larger States, though there are certain exceptions.  In addition, confidence intervals are generally wider for State maximum income than for the Federal maximum income. In both cases, the confidence intervals are wider because the statistic is based on a smaller sample size. The reliability and preciseness of estimates decrease as the width of the confidence interval increases. 

ATTACHMENTS:    A.  State LIHEAP Recipiency Targeting Index Rankings, Figures 1-4
                               B.  State LIHEAP Recipiency Targeting Index Values, Tables 1-6
                               C.  Technical Notes on Estimates of LIHEAP Recipiency Targeting Indexes for Households Receiving LIHEAP Heating Assistance in FFY 2007

LINKS:   FFY 2006 State Targeting Indexes and Rankings, LIHEAP IM-2009-09, dated May 26, 2009, are available at: Coming soon, im-2009-09

The Recipiency Targeting Analysis for Elderly and Young Child Households study is available at: Coming soon, targeting_report

INQUIRIES TO:    

Leon Litow

Lauren Christopher

Lead Program Analyst

Energy Program Operations Branch Chief

Division of Energy Assistance

Division of Energy Assistance

Tel:  (202) 401-5304

Tel:  (202) 401-4870

E-mail:  leon.litow@acf.hhs.gov

E-mail:  lauren.christopher@acf.hhs.gov

Re:  Targeting indexes/tech. notes

Re:  Targeting analysis

    

___/s/_________________________________

Yolanda J. Butler, Ph.D.
Acting Director
Office of Community Services
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C.  20447

1The LIHEAP statute references “frail elderly” as a vulnerable group; however, a uniform definition of “frail” is not available across all States and it is not a required part of the data element. Therefore, only “elderly” are counted. Similarly, there is no targeting measure related to households with a disabled member because of the lack of a consistent definition of “disabled” across all States.

2The LIHEAP Federal income maximum for FY 2007 was the greater of 60 percent of State median income or 150 percent of the poverty level. A State’s LIHEAP income standard could range from 110 percent of the poverty level up to the State’s LIHEAP Federal income maximum. Such households are referred to occasionally in this Information Memorandum as “low income” households.

3The Census Bureau’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey provided the national estimated targeting data on low income households. The States’ LIHEAP Household Reports provided the aggregated targeting data on households receiving heating assistance at the national level.

4Twenty-three States out of 50 States total. One State, Nebraska, was excluded from the ranking because of data errors.

5Twenty-five States out of 49 States total. Two States, Idaho and Nebraska, were excluded from the ranking because of data errors.