Changes to poverty calculations could strip aid from millions

A new proposal from the Trump administration would change the way the national poverty threshold is calculated, potentially leading millions of low-income Americans to lose federal assistance.

Earlier this week, the Office of Management and Budget announced a proposal to change the inflation measure used to calculate the poverty line in America. The proposed formula would show slower inflation growth over time. The administration is currently seeking public comment on the idea.

If enacted, the changes would likely mean fewer Americans would qualify for Medicaid, food stamps and other federal aid programs.

Currently, the poverty threshold sits at a $26,000 income for a family of four. The consumer price index is used to help calculate inflation in adjusting the poverty line each year. However, the administration has suggested switching to the “chained CPI,” which shows slower inflation because it assumes that individuals will buy cheaper goods if prices of items rise.

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