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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 17 (Thursday, January 26, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4034-4035]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-1603]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

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: Date of publication, 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 or 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--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 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,

[[Page 4035]]

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 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 (SPM).
    The following guideline figures represent annual income.

2012 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of
                                Columbia
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Poverty
                Persons in family/household                   guideline
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..........................................................      $11,170
2..........................................................       15,130
3..........................................................       19,090
4..........................................................       23,050
5..........................................................       27,010
6..........................................................       30,970
7..........................................................       34,930
8..........................................................       38,890
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $3,960 for 
each additional person.

                   2012 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Poverty
                Persons in family/household                   guideline
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..........................................................      $13,970
2..........................................................       18,920
3..........................................................       23,870
4..........................................................       28,820
5..........................................................       33,770
6..........................................................       38,720
7..........................................................       43,670
8..........................................................       48,620
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,950 for 
each additional person.

                   2012 Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Poverty
                Persons in family/household                   guideline
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..........................................................      $12,860
2..........................................................       17,410
3..........................................................       21,960
4..........................................................       26,510
5..........................................................       31,060
6..........................................................       35,610
7..........................................................       40,160
8..........................................................       44,710
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,550 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 19, 2012.
Kathleen Sebelius,
Secretary of Health and Human Services.
[FR Doc. 2012-1603 Filed 1-25-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4150-05-P



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