Ky. Attorney General opposes change to poverty threshold

Local News
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WEHT) – Attorney General Andy Beshear opposes a proposed change in the way the federal poverty thresholds are calculated.

These thresholds determine eligibility for government-funded benefits, and the amount of benefits people receive.

According to 21 attorneys general, the adjustment could result in millions of Americans becoming ineligible for, or entitled to less, government-funded benefits. They argue the proposal to alter the way the poverty thresholds are updated over time could result in denying millions of people the assistance they need and deserve.

In May, the federal Office of Management and Budget said it would consider lowering the measure of inflation used when adjusting the federal poverty threshold, using an alternative index to the current one used by the US Consensus Bureau.

The attorneys general say the current formula is outdate and doesn’t accurately reflect the spending patterns of those living close to the poverty threshold, but the proposed change could worsen flaws in the existing system.

The attorneys general highlight research showing low-income populations experience inflation at rates higher than other populations. They argue if you lower the measure of inflation, it will lower the poverty threshold and limit the number of people deemed to be living in poverty.

The attorneys general point out the impact the change would have on food insecurity.

Beshear says 91% of households receiving assistance from Kentucky food banks already buy the cheapest food available, even if it’s unhealthy to provide enough food for their households.

For the latest breaking news and stories from across the Tri-State, follow Eyewitness News on Facebook and Twitter. (This story was originally published on June 26, 2019)

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