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Examining the New Federal Poverty Guidelines

Federal officials recently released the 2018 Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, better known as the “federal poverty level” (FPL). States and the federal government use the guidelines to determine eligibility for a number of public assistance programs, such as BadgerCare, Food Share and child care subsidies (Wisconsin Shares).

You can find the 2018 poverty levels on the Wisconsin Budget Project website. The updated tables show how the revised amounts affect eligibility for various programs, and they also translate the annual income amounts into monthly and hourly income.

The 2018 poverty level is just $12,140 per year for a single childless adult and $16,240 for a two-person family. For most family sizes, the new poverty levels are one or two percent higher than the poverty levels used in 2017.

Our recent blog post discusses the policy ramifications of the new guidelines. For example, because Wisconsin cut the BadgerCare income ceiling for adults to 100% of FPL in 2014 (from 200%), the upper income limit for a single parent with one child amounts to just $7.91 per hour (assuming a 40-hour work week).

We have also updated a Kids Forward infographic detailing how the 2018 poverty levels relate to different categories of BadgerCare eligibility.

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