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LIHEAP IM 2013-2 HHS Poverty Guidelines for Optional Use in FY 2013 and Mandatory Use in FY 2014

Published: May 2, 2013
Audience:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Category:
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Information Memorandums (IM)

Low Income Home Energy Assistance
 

 

Information Memorandum

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Community Services
Division of Energy Assistance
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20447
http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap

 

Transmittal No. LIHEAP-IM-2013-02                                      Date:  May 2, 2013

TO:  LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP) GRANTEES AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES

GUIDANCE                   _X_ STATES
INTENDED FOR:          _X_ TRIBES/TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS
                                    _X_ TERRITORIES

SUBJECT:   U.S.  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Poverty Guidelines for Optional Use in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2013 Federal Energy Assistance Programs and Mandatory Use in FFY 2014 Federal Energy Assistance Programs

RELATED            (1)  The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Act, Title XXVI of the
REFERENCES:    Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, Public Law 97-35, as amended;

(2)  45 CFR 96.85 (a), Income Eligibility — Final Rule, published in the Federal Register March 3, 1988 (53 FR 6827) and amended October 15, 1999 (64 FR 55858);

(3)  Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines, Federal Register notice dated January 24, 2013 (78 FR 5182-5183)

PURPOSE:  To inform grantees of the Federal energy assistance program (the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP) about the updates to the HHS Poverty Guidelines, (also called the Federal Poverty Guidelines or FPG), which the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of HHS (ASPE) issued on January 24, 2013.  LIHEAP grantees that base their income-eligibility criteria on FPG may use such guidelines for their FFY 2013 programs and must use such guidelines for their FFY 2014 programs.

BACKGROUND:   Section 2605(b)(2)(B) of P.L.  97-35 establishes the following requirements that LIHEAP grantees must follow in setting the income-eligibility criteria of their programs:

  1. Grantees may make eligible solely on the basis of household income households with incomes which do not exceed the greater of—
    1. an amount equal to 150 percent of FPG for the State; or
    2. an amount equal to 60 percent of the State Median Income (SMI); and
  2. Grantees may not exclude from eligibility solely on the basis of income households with incomes which fall below 110 percent of FPG for such State—though grantees may give priority to those households with the highest home energy costs or needs in relation to household income.

CONTENT:    ASPE updated the FPG in a Federal Register notice that was published on January 24, 2013.  Attachment 1 presents the text of this notice.

LIHEAP grantees that use FPG to set their income-eligibility criteria are to do adopt such guidelines in the fashion indicated below:

Optional Use
Such grantees may adopt these guidelines at any time on or after January 24, 2013 (their date of publication in the Federal Register) and before the later of (1) October 1, 2013 (the beginning of FFY 2014); or (2) the beginning of their fiscal years.

Mandatory Use
Such grantees must adopt these guidelines by no later than the later of (1) October 1, 2013 (the beginning of FFY 2014); or (2) the beginning of their fiscal years.

Such grantees must set their income-eligibility criteria between 110 percent and 150 percent of the guidelines that they adopt.  These limits are shown in Attachment 2.

ATTACHMENTS: 

(1) The Federal Register Notice announcing the annual update of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, published on January 24, 2013 (78 FR 5182-5183)

(2) 100 percent, 110 percent, 150 percent of these Federal Poverty Guidelines, adjusted by family size

INQUIRIES     Peter Edelman, Program Analyst
TO:               Division of Energy Assistance
                     Office of Community Services, ACF, HHS
                     370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
                     Washington, D.C.  20447
                     (202) 401-5292
                     E-mail: peter.edelman@acf.hhs.gov

                                                  

 ________/s_______________________
Nick St.  Angelo
Director
Division of Energy Assistance
Office of Community Services

Attachment 1

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 16 (Thursday, January 24, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 5182-5183]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-01422]

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 24, 2013, 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/index.cfm.

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 Office of the Director, Division of Health Facilities, 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/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 http://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 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 2013 notice reflect the 2.1 percent price increase between calendar years 2011 and 2012. 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 2013 guidelines are roughly equal to the poverty thresholds for calendar year 2012 which the Census Bureau expects to publish in final form in September 2013.)

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.

2013 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia

Persons in family/household

Poverty guideline

1.........................................

$11,490

2.........................................

15,510

3.........................................

19,530

4.........................................

23,550

5.........................................

27,570

6.........................................

31,590

7.........................................

35,610

8.........................................

39,630

For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,020 for each additional person.

2013 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska

Persons in family/household

Poverty guideline

1.........................................

$14,350

2.........................................

19,380

3.........................................

24,410

4.........................................

29,440

5.........................................

34,470

6.........................................

39,500

7.........................................

44,530

8.........................................

49,560

For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $5,030 for each additional person.

2013 Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii

Persons in family/household

Poverty guideline

1.........................................

$13,230

2.........................................

17,850

3.........................................

22,470

4.........................................

27,090

5.........................................

31,710

6.........................................

36,330

7.........................................

40,950

8.........................................

45,570

For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,620 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 18, 2013.

Kathleen Sebelius,

Secretary of Health and Human Services.

[FR Doc. 2013-01422 Filed 1-22-13; 11:15 am]

BILLING CODE 4150-05-P