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LIHEAP IM 2016-02 (HHS) Poverty Guidelines for Optional Use in FFY 2016

Published: July 1, 2016
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
330 C Street, SW, 5th Floor
Mail Room 5425
Washington, D.C. 20201
https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap

Transmittal No. LIHEAP-IM-2016-02          Date: July 1, 2016

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

GUIDANCE
INTENDED FOR:  X STATES
                              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) 2016 LIHEAP and Mandatory Use in FFY 2017 LIHEAP

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 25, 2016 (81 FR 4036-4037).

PURPOSE: To provide LIHEAP-specific 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 (ASPE) of HHS issued on January 25, 2016. LIHEAP grantees that base their income-eligibility criteria on FPG may use such guidelines for their FFY 2016 programs and must use such guidelines for their FFY 2017 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 25, 2016. Attachment 1 presents the text of this notice.

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

Optional Use
LIHEAP grantees may adopt these guidelines at any time on or after January 25, 2016 (the date of publication in the Federal Register) and the latter of October 1, 2016 (the beginning of FFY 2017) or the beginning of their 2017 fiscal year.

Mandatory Use
LIHEAP grantees must adopt these guidelines by no later than the latter of October 1, 2016 (the beginning of FFY 2017) or the beginning of their 2017 fiscal year.

Federal Income Eligibility Range
All LIHEAP grantees must set their income-eligibility criteria between 110 percent of these guidelines and the greater of (1) 150 percent of these guidelines; and (2) 60 percent of State Median Income (SMI). HHS plans to publish LIHEAP’s 60 percent of SMI criteria in the Federal Register shortly. The HHSPG limits are shown in Attachment 2.

This memorandum includes HHSPG figures for Puerto Rico. Such figures are based on calculations made by the Office of Community Services of the Administration for Children and Families of HHS. Such calculations appear in Attachment 3.

ATTACHMENTS: (1) The Federal Register notice announcing the annual update of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, published on January 25, 2016 (81 FR 4036-4037)

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

(3) Federal Poverty Guideline calculations for Puerto Rico

INQUIRIES Peter Edelman, Program Analyst

TO: Division of Energy Assistance
Office of Community Services, ACF, HHS
330 C Street, SW, 5th Floor
Mail Room 5425
Washington, DC 20201
(202) 401-5292
E-mail: peter.edelman@acf.hhs.gov

/s/
Jeannie L. Chaffin
Director
Office of Community Services


 

Attachment 1

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 15 (Monday, January 25, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4036-4037]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov
[FR Doc No: 2016-01450]

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 25, 2016, 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 422F.5, Humphrey Building, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC 20201--telephone: (202) 690-7507--or visit http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/.

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 Health Resources and Services Administration Information Center at 1-800-275-4772. You also may visit https://www.hrsa.gov/get-health-care/index.html.

For information about the number of people in poverty, visit the Poverty section of the Census Bureau's Web site at https://www.census.gov/topics/income-poverty/poverty.html or contact the Census Bureau's Customer Service Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll-free) and https://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 2016 notice reflect the 0.1 percent price increase between calendar years 2014 and 2015. After this inflation adjustment, the guidelines are rounded and adjusted to standardize the differences between family sizes. In rare circumstances, the rounding and standardizing adjustments in the formula result in small decreases in the poverty guidelines for some household sizes even when the inflation factor is not negative. In order to prevent a reduction in the guidelines in these rare circumstances, a minor adjustment was implemented to the formula beginning this year. In cases where the year-to-year change in inflation is not negative and the rounding and standardizing adjustments in the formula result in reductions to the guidelines from the previous year for some household sizes, the guidelines for the affected household sizes are fixed at the prior year's guidelines. As in prior years, these 2016 guidelines are roughly equal to the poverty thresholds for calendar year 2015 which the Census Bureau expects to publish in final form in September 2016.

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.

2016 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia

Persons in family/household

Poverty guideline

1

$11,880

2

16,020

3

20,160

4

24,300

5

28,440

6

32,580

7

36,730

8

40,890

For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,160 for each additional person.

2016 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska

Persons in family/household

Poverty guideline

1

$14,840

2

20,020

3

25,200

4

30,380

5

35,560

6

40,740

7

45,920

8

51,120

For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $5,200 for each additional person.

2016 Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii

Persons in family/household

Poverty guideline

1

$13,670

2

18,430

3

23,190

4

27,950

5

32,710

6

37,470

7

42,230

8

47,010

For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,780 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 21, 2016.

Sylvia M. Burwell,

Secretary of Health and Human Services.

[FR Doc. 2016-01450 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4150-05-P


 

Attachment 2

100 Percent, 110 Percent and 150 Percent of the
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Poverty Guidelines
Published on January 25, 2016

For Mandatory Use in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Federal LIHEAP Energy Assistance Programs

For All States Except Alaska and Hawaii, and for the District of Columbia

Size of household

100 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

110 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

150 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

1

$11,880

$13,068

$17,820

2

16,020

17,622

24,030

3

20,160

22,176

30,240

4

24,300

26,730

36,450

5

28,440

31,284

42,660

6

32,580

35,838

48,870

7

36,730

40,403

55,095

8

40,890

44,979

61,335

For households at 110 percent of HHS poverty guidelines with more than 8 members add $4,576 for each additional member. For households at 150 percent of HHS poverty guidelines with more than 8 members add $6,240 for each additional member.

For Alaska

Size of household

100 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

110 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

150 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

1

$14,840

$16,324

$22,260

2

20,020

22,022

30,030

3

25,200

27,720

37,800

4

30,380

33,418

45,570

5

35,560

39,116

53,340

6

40,740

44,814

61,110

7

45,920

50,512

68,880

8

51,120

56,232

76,680

For households at 110 percent of HHS poverty guidelines with more than 8 members add $5,720 for each additional member. For households at 150 percent of HHS poverty guidelines with more than 8 members add $7,800 for each additional member.

For Hawaii

Size of household

100 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

110 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

150 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

1

$13,670

$15,037

$20,505

2

18,430

20,273

27,645

3

23,190

25,509

34,785

4

27,950

30,745

41,925

5

32,710

35,981

49,065

6

37,470

41,217

56,205

7

42,230

46,453

63,345

8

47,010

51,711

70,515

For households at 110 percent of HHS poverty guidelines with more than 8 members add $5,258 for each additional member. For households at 150 percent of HHS poverty guidelines with more than 8 members add $7,170 for each additional member.

For Puerto Rico

Size of household

100 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

110 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

150 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

1

$4,510

$4,960

$6,765

2

6,050

6,655

9,076

3

7,591

8,350

11,387

4

9,132

10,045

13,698

5

10,673

11,740

16,009

6

12,214

13,435

18,320

7

13,754

15,130

20,631

8

15,295

16,825

22,942

For households at 110 percent of HHS poverty guidelines with more than 8 members add $1,695 for each additional member. For households at 150 percent of HHS poverty guidelines with more than 8 members add $2,311 for each additional member.

Last Reviewed: July 20, 2018