Federal Poverty Guideline Underestimates Costs of Living for Older Persons in California

Federal Poverty Guideline Underestimates Costs of Living for Older Persons in California

The federal poverty line (FPL) is still used to determine income eligibility for most public assistance programs, even though it covers less than half the basic cost of living for California adults age 65 and older. A new report from the Center for Health Policy Research at UCLA, Federal Poverty Guideline Underestimates Costs of Living for Older Persons in California (4 pages, PDF), explains the methodology behind the Elder Economic Security Standard Index, which the report describes as a more reliable measure of poverty than FPL. Among other things, the index takes into account the higher cost of living in California as well as the cost of housing, transportation, and out-of-pocket medical expenses, which can be particularly debilitating for the elderly.