Letters and Correspondences

Coalition Letter: Opposition to the Proposal to Adjust the Official Poverty Measure

Poverty & Family Economics

More than 85 organizations joined us in sending a letter to Congress in opposition to the administration’s proposal to adjust the the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Read the full letter.

Excerpt:

Any adjustments to the OPM should seek to correct, rather than exacerbate, the existing formula’s deficiencies. If the Administration is pursuing a more accurate measure of poverty, it cannot narrowly focus on inflation but instead must undertake a comprehensive, evidence-based reevaluation of OPM’s underlying formula so that it can capture the true cost of meeting basic needs.

A family’s eligibility for several critical assistance programs depends on their income in relation to the poverty threshold as determined by the OPM. An artificially low poverty threshold could therefore cause millions of children to lose access to healthcare, nutritious food, early education, heating assistance, and other critical resources. Programs that depend on Department of Health and Human Services guidelines to determine eligibility would be affected, including (but not limited to): Parts of Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Head Start, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and Legal Services for the Poor through Legal Services Corporation.

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