Mullin’s bill aims to raise poverty line, article by Alyse DiNapoli, Daily Journal

Peninsula Family Service CEO, Heather Cleary supports new bill to update the federal poverty line, introduced by US Rep Kevin Mullin. 

“U.S. Rep. Kevin Mullin introduced a bill Wednesday, Dec. 6, to update the federal poverty line and incorporate regional cost-of-living differences, citing an antiquated formula that hasn’t seen substantive changes in more than five decades.

The federal poverty line is used to establish eligibility for a wide swath of means-tested social programs — including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Children’s Health Insurance Program, school lunch programs and many Medicaid and Medicare services — but the formula to calculate the income threshold does not incorporate many expenditures that have seen substantive increases since its creation several decades ago.

The proposed legislation would amend the Community Services Block Grant Act to require more input in the federal poverty line calculation, such as average expenditures for child care costs, health care premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, rental housing estimates and other general household spending. The bill would also require a county-level adjustment, and no threshold changes would result in the elimination of benefits for those who are currently eligible.

The proposed legislation would amend the Community Services Block Grant Act to require more input in the federal poverty line calculation, such as average expenditures for child care costs, health care premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, rental housing estimates and other general household spending. The bill would also require a county-level adjustment, and no threshold changes would result in the elimination of benefits for those who are currently eligible………

“Minimum wages are so high in our area, and it’s practically impossible to have a job and stay below the poverty line,” Heather Cleary, CEO of Peninsula Family Service, said. “We’re in the child care business, and we know that there are so many more people that we could serve if the poverty line was adjusted … it affects a huge number of community members.””

Read full article, Daily Journal, December 6, 2023

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