National Academies Press: OpenBook

Measuring Poverty: A New Approach (1995)

Chapter: Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant (Title V)

« Previous: APPENDIX D Assistance Programs for People with Low-Incomes
Suggested Citation:"Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant (Title V)." National Research Council. 1995. Measuring Poverty: A New Approach. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4759.
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APPENDIX D 437 criterion for income eligibility have uniform nationwide eligibility standards (with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, for which the guidelines are higher than in other states). Ten other programs (e.g., veterans' pensions, EITC) also have uniform standards. The remaining 46 programs have standards that vary by geographic area. Some of these programs, as a sole eligibility criterion or as one of their criteria, explicitly have a comparison of income with a standard that varies by geographic area: either a percentage of the local area median income defined by HUD, a percentage of the Department of Labor lower living standard income level, or a percentage of state median family income. Other programs (e.g., AFDC) have eligibility standards that vary because they are set by the states (or localities). Still other programs (e.g., Head Start, School Lunch) have varying eligibility standards in practice because one of their criteria is participation in another program, such as AFDC, in which individual states or localities set the standards (however, benefits do not usually vary by area for these programs). Below are brief descriptions of all 27 programs that have as at least one of their income eligibility criteria a comparison of income with the poverty guidelines. The descriptions are organized alphabetically within categories of types of benefits: medical, food, education, other services, jobs and training, and energy. The last section of the appendix describes a few of the major cash and near-cash assistance programs that use a test of income eligibility other than the poverty guidelines. Descriptions are included for AFDC, the EITC, housing assistance, SSI, and veterans' pensions. The information in this appendix is derived largely from Burke (1993), supplemented by U.S. House of Representatives (1994). PROGRAMS THAT TIE ELIGIBILITY TO THE POVERTY GUIDELINES Medical Programs Community Health Centers Centers receive grant money to provide primary care services to medically underserved populations, defined on the basis of such factors as the ratio of primary care doctors to population, infant mortality rate, percentage of elderly, and percentage of families with incomes below the poverty level. Families with incomes below 100 percent of poverty are entitled to free services; those with incomes between 100 and 200 percent of poverty are required to make partial payment; and those with higher incomes are required to make full payment for services. Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant (Title V) Funds are provided to the states to undertake various activities to improve the health status of mothers and children (e.g., prenatal care, well-child care, dental care, immunization, screening for lead poisoning, etc.). States determine eligibility

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Each year's poverty figures are anxiously awaited by policymakers, analysts, and the media. Yet questions are increasing about the 30-year-old measure as social and economic conditions change.

In Measuring Poverty a distinguished panel provides policymakers with an up-to-date evaluation of:

  • Concepts and procedures for deriving the poverty threshold, including adjustments for different family circumstances.
  • Definitions of family resources.
  • Procedures for annual updates of poverty measures.

The volume explores specific issues underlying the poverty measure, analyzes the likely effects of any changes on poverty rates, and discusses the impact on eligibility for public benefits. In supporting its recommendations the panel provides insightful recognition of the political and social dimensions of this key economic indicator.

Measuring Poverty will be important to government officials, policy analysts, statisticians, economists, researchers, and others involved in virtually all poverty and social welfare issues.

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