[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 12 (Thursday, January 18, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 2642-2644]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-00814]


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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.

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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: Applicable beginning January 13, 2018, unless an office 
administering a program using the guidelines specifies a different 
applicability date for that particular program.

[[Page 2643]]


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) 690-7409--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/affordable/hill-burton/index.html.
    For information about the number of people in poverty, visit the 
Poverty section of the Census Bureau's website 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) or visit 
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 Medicaid 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 2018 notice reflect the 2.1 percent 
price increase between calendar years 2016 and 2017. 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 
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 2018 guidelines are 
roughly equal to the poverty thresholds for calendar year 2017 which 
the Census Bureau expects to publish in final form in September 2018.
    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 Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM).
    The following guideline figures represent annual income.

2018 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of
                                Columbia
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                                                              Poverty
               Persons in family/household                   guideline
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1.......................................................         $12,140
2.......................................................          16,460
3.......................................................          20,780
4.......................................................          25,100
5.......................................................          29,420
6.......................................................          33,740
7.......................................................          38,060
8.......................................................          42,380
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    For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,320 for 
each additional person.

                   2018 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska
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                                                              Poverty
               Persons in family/household                   guideline
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1.......................................................         $15,180
2.......................................................          20,580
3.......................................................          25,980
4.......................................................          31,380
5.......................................................          36,780
6.......................................................          42,180
7.......................................................          47,580
8.......................................................          52,980
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    For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $5,400 for 
each additional person.

                   2018 Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii
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                                                              Poverty
               Persons in family/household                   guideline
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1.......................................................         $13,960
2.......................................................          18,930
3.......................................................          23,900
4.......................................................          28,870
5.......................................................          33,840
6.......................................................          38,810
7.......................................................          43,780
8.......................................................          48,750
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    For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,970 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

[[Page 2644]]

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 12, 2018.
Eric D. Hargan,
Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services.
[FR Doc. 2018-00814 Filed 1-12-18; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 4150-05-P