The 1999 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Social Security Bulletin, January 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

The 1999 Federal Poverty Guidelines


The Department of Health and Human Services published the "Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines" in the Federal Register1 of March 18, 1999. As required by law, the 1999 update reflects last year's change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The federal poverty guidelines are issued by HHS and are used for administrative purposes (for example, to determine whether a person or family is financially eligible for assistance or services under certain federal programs). The guidelines are a simplified version of the federal government's statistical poverty thresholds that the Bureau of the Census uses to prepare its estimates of the number of persons and families in poverty. Both guidelines and thresholds consist of a series of income levels, with different values for families of different sizes, below which the families are classified as poor for administrative purposes.

Table 1 shows the 1999 poverty guidelines for various family unit sizes. For an unrelated individual living in any of the 48 contiguous states or in the District of Columbia, the amount is $8,240 (an increase of$190 from the previous year). In Alaska and Hawaii, the 1999 guidelines for one person are $ 10,320 (up $250) and $9,490 (up $230), respectively. Each additional person increases the poverty guidelines by $2,820 in the contiguous states and the District of Columbia, by $3,520 in Alaska, and by $3,240 in Hawaii. …

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