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HHS Releases Federal Poverty Guidelines

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HHS Releases Federal Poverty Guidelines

January 27, 2012

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released poverty guidelines to account for last calendar year's increase in prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

Section 673(2) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)) requires the Secretary of HHS 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 CPI-U. The guidelines in this 2012 notice reflect the 3.2 percent price increase between calendar years 2010 and 2011.

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 2012 guidelines are roughly equal to the poverty thresholds for calendar year 2011, which the Census Bureau expects to publish in final form in September 2012.)

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 .

This guideline's figures represent annual income.