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Report shows federal poverty guidelines leave state's seniors destitute
Date:9/14/2010

Data and research on what it really takes for seniors to make ends meet in each of California's 58 counties will be released today at the state Capitol in Sacramento.

The release is the latest update of the Elder Economic Security Standard Index (Elder Index), a tool that measures the actual costs of basic necessities for older adults. The Elder Index is quickly replacing federal poverty level (FPL) guidelines as a new standard for evaluating and meeting the needs of seniors across California.

"This year, the federal government officially acknowledged it's time to improve the outdated federal poverty guidelines by announcing that it will release a 'supplemental poverty measure' in the fall of 2011 a baby step in the right direction," said state Assemblyman Jim Beall Jr. (DSan Jose). "California has the largest senior population in the country, so we simply can't afford to take baby steps. That's why we are embracing the Elder Index, from City Hall to the state Capitol."

Calculated by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research on behalf of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, the new Elder Index data show that the cost of living for California seniors far outpaces the FPL guidelines in every county in California. Even in Kern County, the county with the lowest Elder Index ranking, real costs add up to $6,447 more than the FPL's nationwide, one-size-fits-all amount of $10,830 per year.

"One size does not fit all," said Steven P. Wallace, Ph.D., associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the lead author of "Older Adults Need Twice the Federal Poverty Level to Make Ends Meet in California," the policy brief containing the new data. "California's high costs make a single national income standard like the FPL totally inadequate for seniors."

The inadequacy of the FPL is important to California's older adults since it is used to determine income eligibility for many pu
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Contact: Gwen Driscoll
gdriscoll@ucla.edu
310-794-0930
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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