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

Publication Topics

Barriers to/Disparities in Health Care; Cost and Utilization Studies; Medicaid/Medi-Cal; Medicare; Elderly; Low-Income; Access to Health Care; Health Care Economics; Health Insurance Coverage and Programs; Population Focus

Publication Type

Policy Brief

Publication Date


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<a onclick="OpenPopUpPage('http:\u002f\\u002f_layouts\u002flistform.aspx?PageType=4\u0026ListId={7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}\u0026ID=163\u0026RootFolder=*', RefreshPage); return false;" href=";ListId={7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}&amp;ID=163&amp;RootFolder=*">Steven P. Wallace, PhD</a>

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The federal poverty guideline, used to determine income eligibility for many public programs, covers less than half of the basic costs experienced by adults age 65 and older in the state. This report shows how the new Elder Economic Security Standard index (Elder Index) for California provides an empirically-based measure that more accurately reflects county-level costs faced by older adults in the state.

In 2007, the federal poverty guideline for a single, elderly person was an annual income of $10,210, and for an older couple, $13,690. But according to the report's calculations, broken down by each California county, a basic annual cost of living for a retired older adult, in good health and living in rental housing, averages $21,011, reaching a high of $27,550 in San Mateo County. The supplemental materials include the Elder Index for each California county together with information on the health care, housing, food, transportation, and miscellanous costs that comprise the Elder Index.

The Elder Index is part of a statewide initiative to raise awareness, and to promote policy and programs, that assures income adequacy for all of the state's older adults. The statewide initiative is led by the Insight Center for Community Economic Economic Development, which is part of a national project headed by Wider Opportunities for Women.


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Policy Brief (PDF)

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California Elder Index County Data and Other Supporting Materials

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Press Release

Related Link 1

Insight Center for Community Economic Development

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Wider Opportunities for Women

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Version: 2.0
Created at 9/27/2011 11:58 AM by Harout Katerjian
Last modified at 1/31/2013 12:45 PM by i:0#.f|uclachissqlmembershipprovider|jonathan