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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly


[Federal Register: February 13, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 30)]
[Notices]               
[Page 7335-7338]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr13fe04-155]                         


[[Page 7335]]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Part V





Department of Health and Human Services





-----------------------------------------------------------------------



Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines; Notice


[[Page 7336]]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

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 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).

ADDRESSES: 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 or how income is defined in a particular program, 
contact the Federal (or other) office which is responsible for that 
program.
    For general questions about the poverty guidelines (but NOT for 
questions about a particular 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) 690-7507; 
persons with Internet access may visit the poverty guidelines Internet 
site at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty.

    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, Health Resources and Services 
Administration, HHS, Room 16C-17, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, 
Rockville, Maryland 20857. To speak to a person, 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), 
and leave your name and address on the Hotline recording. 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 USCIS Form I-864, 
Affidavit of Support, contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 
Services. To obtain information on the most recent applicable poverty 
guidelines from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, call 1-800-
375-5283. Persons with Internet access may obtain the information from 
the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Internet site at http://uscis.gov/graphics/howdoi/affsupp.htm
.

    For information about the Department of Labor's Lower Living 
Standard Income Level (an alternative eligibility criterion with the 
poverty guidelines for certain programs under the Workforce Investment 
Act of 1998), contact Janeice Youngblood, Employment and Training 
Administration, U.S. Department of Labor--telephone: (202) 693-3606--e-
mail: youngblood.janeice@dol.gov; persons with Internet 
access may visit the Employment and Training Administration's Lower 
Living Standard Income Level Internet site at http://wdsc.doleta.gov/llsil
.

    For information about the number of people in poverty since 1959 or 
about the Census Bureau poverty thresholds, contact the Housing and 
Household Economic Statistics Division information staff (HHES-Info), 
Room G251, Federal Office Building 3, U.S. Census Bureau, 
Washington, DC 20233-8500--telephone: (301) 763-3242--or send e-mail to 
hhes-info@census.gov; persons with Internet access may 
visit the Poverty section of the Census Bureau's Internet site at 
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.


2004 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of
                                Columbia
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Poverty
                   Size of family unit                       guideline
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.......................................................          $9,310
2.......................................................          12,490
3.......................................................          15,670
4.......................................................          18,850
5.......................................................          22,030
6.......................................................          25,210
7.......................................................          28,390
8.......................................................          31,570
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For family units with more than 8 members, add $3,180 for each 
additional member. (The same increment applies to smaller family sizes 
also, as can be seen in the figures above.)

                   2004 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Poverty
                   Size of family unit                       guideline
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.......................................................         $11,630
2.......................................................          15,610
3.......................................................          19,590
4.......................................................          23,570
5.......................................................          27,550
6.......................................................          31,530
7.......................................................          35,510
8.......................................................          39,490
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For family units with more than 8 members, add $3,980 for each 
additional member. (The same increment applies to smaller family sizes 
also, as can be seen in the figures above.)

                   2004 Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Poverty
                   Size of family unit                       guideline
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.......................................................         $10,700
2.......................................................          14,360
3.......................................................          18,020
4.......................................................          21,680
5.......................................................          25,340
6.......................................................          29,000
7.......................................................          32,660
8.......................................................          36,320
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For family units with more than 8 members, add $3,660 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 
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, 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

[[Page 7337]]

contiguous-states-and-DC guidelines for those jurisdictions or to 
follow some other procedure.)
    The preceding figures are the 2004 update of the poverty guidelines 
required by section 673(2) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act 
(OBRA) of 1981 (Public Law 97-35--reauthorized by Public Law 105-285, 
Section 201 (1998)). 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. (The poverty guidelines are 
calculated each year from the latest published Census Bureau poverty 
thresholds--not from the previous year's guidelines. Besides the 
inflation adjustment, the guidelines are also rounded and adjusted to 
standardize the differences between family sizes.)
    Section 673(2) of OBRA-1981 (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)) requires the use of 
these 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 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).''
    The poverty guidelines are a simplified version of the Federal 
Government's statistical poverty thresholds used by the Census Bureau 
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 2004 guidelines--
reflect price changes through calendar year 2003, they are 
approximately equal to the poverty thresholds for calendar year 2003 
which the Census Bureau expects to issue in September or October 2004. 
(A preliminary version of the 2003 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 its 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, please 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 
(other than an inmate of an institution) who is not living with 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 Census Bureau 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. Census 
Bureau 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.

[[Page 7338]]

    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 11, 2004.
Tommy G. Thompson,
Secretary of Health and Human Services.
[FR Doc. 04-3329 Filed 2-12-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4154-05-P




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