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LIHEAP INCOME LIMITS AND ASSETS TESTS: A REVIEW OF STATE POLICIES.

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Presentation on theme: "LIHEAP INCOME LIMITS AND ASSETS TESTS: A REVIEW OF STATE POLICIES."— Presentation transcript:

1 LIHEAP INCOME LIMITS AND ASSETS TESTS: A REVIEW OF STATE POLICIES

2 INCOME MAXIMUMS: LIHEAP STATUTE NO LOWER THAN 110% OF THE FEDERAL POVERTY INDEX NO HIGHER THAN 150% OF THE FEDERAL POVERTY INDEX, OR 60% OF THE STATE MEDIAN INCOME, WHICHEVER IS GREATER

3 INCOME MAXIMUMS: 2005 HEATING ASSISTANCE 110%: 4 STATES 111% - 149%: 14 STATES 150%: 20 STATES OVER 150%: 6 STATES 60% OF STATE MEDIAN INCOME: 6 STATES OTHER: 1 STATE (50% OF STATE MEDIAN INCOME)

4 INCOME MAXIMUMS 2005: CRISIS ASSISTANCE 110% OF POVERTY: 2 STATES 111% - 149%: 13 STATES 150%: 22 STATES OVER 150%: 6 STATES 60% OF STATE MEDIAN INCOME: 7 STATES OTHER: 1 STATE (50% OF STATE MEDIAN INCOME)

5 INCOME MAXIMUM ISSUES FEDERAL FUNDING UNCERTAINTIES STATE STATUTORY, POLICY RESTRICTIONS DILEMMA: PROVIDE SMALLER BENEFITS TO MORE HOUSEHOLDS OR LARGER BENEFITS TO FEWER HOUSEHOLDS?

6 INCOME MAXIMUM CASE STUDY: INDIANA INCOME MAX= 125% OF POVERTY RATIONALE – WITHOUT ADVANCED FUNDING, STATE DOES NOT FEEL SECURE RAISING LIMIT

7 INCOME MAXIMUM CASE STUDY: IOWA INCOME MAX = 150% OF POVERTY EXCEPTION – NON-REIMBURSED MEDICAL EXPENSES CAN BE DEDUCTED IF INCOME EXCEEDS 150%. LITTLE WORKLOAD ISSUE

8 INCOME MAXIMUM CASE STUDY: CONNECTICUT INCOME MAX= 150% OF POVERTY INCREASED MAX TO 60% OF STATE MEDIAN INCOME WHEN FEDERAL CONTINGENCY FUNDS RECEIVED ISSUE – ARE DENIALS FOR OVER-INCOME RECONSIDERED WHEN MAXIMUM RAISED?

9 INCOME MAXIMUM CASE STUDY: UTAH INCOME MAX = 125% OF POVERTY RATIONALE – DO NOT WANT TO REDUCE BENEFITS TO SERVE MORE 20% REDUCTION FOR EARNED INCOME DEDUCTIONS FOR MEDICAL, CHILD SUPPORT AND ALIMONY EXPENSES

10 INCOME MAXIMUM CASE STUDY: FLORIDA INCOME MAX = 150% OF POVERTY WENT FROM 125% TO 150% 3 YEARS AGO RESISTANCE TO INCREASE: BENEFITS WOULD BE TOO SMALL RATIONALE FOR INCREASE: CAN NOW SERVE 2-MEMBER ELDERLY HOUSEHOLDS

11 INCOME MAXIMUM CASE STUDY: OKLAHOMA INCOME MAX = 110% OF POVERTY RATIONALE – STATE VIEWS LIHEAP AS “SAFETY NET” RATHER THAN “INCOME SUBSIDY” PROGRAM SERVING ONLY 40% OF 110% GROUP

12 INCOME MAXIMUM CASE STUDY: WISCONSIN INCOME MAX = 150% OF POVERTY SET BY STATUTE, THUS DIFFICULT TO CHANGE CONSIDERING FUTURE DEDUCTIONS FOR MEDICAL EXPENSES CONSIDERING RE-DEFINITION OF SEASONAL INCOME

13 INCOME MAXIMUM CASE STUDY: COLORADO INCOME MAX = 185% OF POVERTY RATIONALE 1 – BETTER TO HELP MORE PEOPLE WITH FEWER DOLLARS THAN FEWER PEOPLE WITH MORE DOLLARS RATIONALE 2 – IMPORTANT TO HELP THE “WORKING POOR”

14 INCOME MAXIMUM CASE STUDY: COLORADO (CONT.) TWO-PAYMENT METHOD ALLOWS STATE TO ADJUST BENEFITS UP OR DOWN BASED ON AMOUNT OF AVAILABLE FUNDS LIHEAP RECIPIENTS RECEIVE AUTOMATIC 60-DAY SHUTOFF HOLD LOCAL FUEL FUND AIDS THOSE ABOVE LIHEAP INCOME MAX

15 INCOME MAXIMUM RECOMMENDATIONS 1.SET HIGH TO HELP AS MANY HOUSEHOLDS AS POSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY THE “WORKING POOR” 2.DO NOT LOWER INCOME MAX – COLORADO EXPERIENCE RESULTED IN PERMANENT LOST CLIENTS 3.PAY IN 2 INSTALLMENTS TO ALLOW MID- COURSE BENEFIT ADJUSTMENTS 4.COORDINATE WITH LOCAL FUEL FUNDS, SO THEY HELP THOSE LIHEAP CAN’T

16 INCOME MAXIMUM RECOMMENDATIONS (CONT.) 5. PUSH FOR FORWARD FUNDING 6. PUSH FOR INCREASED FUNDING 7. MAXIMIZE LEVERAGING EFFORTS

17 ASSETS TESTS: STATE BREAKOUTS 11 STATES CURRENTLY APPLY ASSETS TESTS MAXIMUM ASSETS RANGE FROM $1,500 TO $10,000 VARIOUS STATES ADJUST FOR HOUSEHOLD SIZE, ELDERLY, ILLNESS NO STATE COUNTS HOME AS AN ASSET MOST STATES CONSIDER “LIQUID” ASSETS

18 ASSETS TESTS: PRO GUARDS AGAINST HOUSEHOLDS WITH EXCESSIVE RESOURCES FROM QUALIFYING FOR LIHEAP PRESERVES FUNDS FOR THOSE IN THE GREATEST NEED KEEPS LIHEAP CONSISTENT WITH PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS LIKE TANF

19 ASSETS TESTS: CON DISCRIMINATES AGAINST PEOPLE WHO SAVE, ESPECIALLY THE ELDERLY MUCH FALSE REPORTING – PUNISHES THOSE WHO REPORT ACCURATELY LOCAL OFFICE WORKLOAD IF PRIMARY CAR IS EXEMPT, WHAT IF IT’S A MERCEDES?

20 ASSETS TESTS: CON (CONT.) LENGTHENS THE LIHEAP APPLICATION FORM THOSE WITH HIGH VALUE ASSETS GENERALLY WILL NOT SEEK LIHEAP ASSISTANCE ANYWAY WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE?

21 ASSETS TEST ELIMINATION: COLORADO EXPERIENCE AS HEATING COSTS ROSE, ELDERLY COMPLAINED TO LEGISLATURE (2001) ELDERLY DID NOT WANT TO DEPLETE SAVINGS TO QUALIFY FOR LIHEAP LOCAL LIHEAP OFFICES, CLIENT ADVOCATES STRONGLY SUPPORTED END TO ASSETS TEST

22 ASSETS TEST ELIMINATION: COLORADO EXPERIENCE (CONT.) ONLY.4% REPORTED ASSETS OF OVER $10,000 IN FIRST TWO YEARS AFTER TEST ENDED ESTIMATED MINUTES PER CASE SAVED IN PROCESSING TIME LIHEAP APPLICATION FORM SHORTENED BY ¼ PAGE


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