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February 24, 2020 Update from
The West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition


In 2006, Families Can Earn More and Still Qualify for CHIP and Medicaid
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Family gross income is the main determinant of eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  West Virginia children are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP health care coverage if their families’ gross income does not exceed 200 percent of the “federal poverty level.”  In some cases, children in families earning more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level are still eligible if the family qualifies for certain deductions, such as childcare expenses.

Beginning in March, 2006, a family of three can earn as much as $2,767 per month and their uninsured children will still qualify for CHIP.  Deductions for child care expenses and a $90 per month (not $95 as stated in a recent e-mail from us) per working parent allowance may permit children in families at a higher income level to still qualify.   Larger families can earn even more without the children losing qualification.  A chart showing annual and monthly income guidelines for different types of families is available here.

Every March, the federal government adjusts the amount of money that families can earn to be eligible for programs based on the federal poverty guidelines.  Guidelines published in March 2006 will reflect increases in prices through the calendar year 2005. 

In case you wondered how the federal government defines and calculates poverty, here’s the story. 

The poverty thresholds were originally developed in 1963-1964 by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  The SSA took the dollar costs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's economy food plan for families of three or more persons and multiplied the costs by three.  The factor of  three was used because the Agriculture Department's 1955 Household Food Consumption Survey found that for families of three or more persons, the average dollar value of all food used during a week (both at home and away from home) accounted for about one third of their total money income after taxes.

In May 1965, the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity adopted the poverty thresholds as a working or quasi-official definition of poverty. In August 1969, the U.S. Bureau of the Budget (predecessor of the Office of Management and Budget) designated the poverty thresholds with certain revisions as the federal government's official statistical definition of poverty.  Today eligibility for many federal, state and local programs is based on these guidelines. 

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E-mail: West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition
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