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Lowering the poverty measure would make it less accurate and cut people off basic supports
The Trump Administration has proposed making changes to how the federal poverty line is calculated which threatens to reduce or entirely take away food assistance, health care, and other forms of basic assistance from millions of people who struggle to put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads, and see a doctor when they need to.
Despite the fact the federal poverty line is far too low to reflect the actual costs of people being able the meet their basic needs, the proposed changes would use a lower measure of inflation to make adjustments to the poverty line. This would over time lower eligibility limits for crucial programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credits.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, if the changes were made:
The Trump administration appears to be choosing to consider a policy that would weaken basic assistance programs and thereby increase hardship, but with very little process or rationale.
The Administration has floated this proposal through “request for public comment.” However, it did not present any research or information about the adequacy of the poverty line itself as compared to the cost of basic necessities, or the possible impact for low income Americans who need access to food supports, health insurance, and other basics.
Find out more about the Trump administration’s harmful proposal to lower the federal poverty line on this Center on Budget and Policy Priorities FAQ.
Rather than seeking to cut basic supports for hundreds of thousands of Americans, the Trump administration should be seeking to strengthen these programs to ensure they are reaching the people who need the help.