Head Start

New rule threatens to undercount families in poverty

New rule threatens to undercount families in poverty

If the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has its way, a new federal poverty calculation will underestimate the number of families — and children — living in poverty even more than it does today.

OMB’s Directive Number 14, “Consumer Inflation Measures,” will slow the rate of inflation adjustment when calculating the federal poverty level. If the directive goes into effect, the federal poverty level will not increase, even as the costs of housing, food and other necessities do. Over time, fewer individuals and families would be considered to be “in poverty,” despite actually living in it. They will be pushed off of a benefits cliff, deemed “not poor enough” to benefit from...

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