Federal Poverty Guidelines Updated for 2017

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On January 31, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the new 2017 federal poverty guidelines in the Federal Register. These guidelines officially went into effect on January 26. Poverty guidelines are used by the federal government to determine an individual’s eligibility for certain federal programs. The poverty guidelines for this year were determined using 2015 Census Bureau poverty thresholds with price changes taken into account.

Programs using poverty guidelines to determine eligibility include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Head Start, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the National School Lunch Program. Counties play an essential role in the implementation of these federal programs, and in 10 different states, counties are in charge of administering SNAP benefits to qualified citizens. Most cash assistance programs, such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program do not use poverty guidelines to factor eligibility. 

Poverty Guidelines are broken down by the number of persons within a household. The guidelines are released in three parts: the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia, Alaska and Hawaii. Most categories experienced a small increase over 2016 guidelines.

NACo encourages the federal government to include county and local governments as partners in the effort to reduce poverty in America. The collaboration between federal, state, and local governments can strengthen economic opportunities for citizens living below or near the poverty line.  

The 2017 poverty guidelines for the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia are below. The full notice from ASPE can be found at:

2017 Federal Poverty Guidelines for the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia
Persons in Family/Household Poverty Guideline
1 $12,060
2 $16,240
3 $20,420
4 $24,600
5 $28,780
6 $32,960
7 $37,140
8 $41,320

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