Portrait of US poverty not accurate

November 7, 2011

The New York Times reports that the official way of counting poverty is a historical artifact. It was created as a placeholder in 1963 until something more sophisticated could come along. The official poverty rate distorts the realities of American poverty.

The official poverty measure ignores what is happening to the poor person’s wallet–good and bad. It overlooks food stamps, tax credits, and other benefits and the formidable amounts the poor lose to taxes and medical care.

It even fails to note that rents are higher in place like Manhattan than they are in Mississippi.

The out-dated measure takes a limited view of income by counting cash alone. It ignores expenses like medical costs. The measure needs updating, experts say. Efforts to update the outmoded measure of poverty have been slowed by both technical and political concerns.

On Monday, November 7, that may start to change when the Census Bureau releases a long-promised alternative measure of poverty. It is meant to do a better job of counting the resources that the needy have and considering the bills that they have to pay.

In our next blog, you’ll find how this new measure may help or hurt people on Social Security. Check back in on Wednesday.

Read more.

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

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