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Spin off - What income counts as "Low Income"

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Let's say for a family size of 3 or 4.  I know it will vary a great deal for different parts of the country.  For what it is worth, I am in the northeast and the cost for housing is very high.

post #2 of 7

According to my Sociology textbook (published in 2010)

 

Lower class (not sure if that is technically the same as low income) for a family is: less than $28,000 a year. 

 

Lower-middle class (or working class) is defined as $28,000 to 49,000 a year per family.

 

Average-middle class (which is roughly the national average) is: $49,000 to $113,000

 

Upper-middle class families earn between $113,000 and $200,000

 

Upper class (the top 5% of the US population) earns more than $200,000

 

From here they go on to separate upper class into upper-upper and lower-uppers. 

 

I thought it was all interesting, and would agree that a family of 3-4 people would be "low income" if they made less than $28,000 a year. 

 

Federal poverty level for a family of 4 is $22,350 currently.  Poverty level, to me, is different than lower-income. 

 

 

post #3 of 7

I know in a southern state, you can get WIC checks for a family of four if you make under $40,000 a year.  Boy, did we qualify!

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by caedenmomma View Post

I know in a southern state, you can get WIC checks for a family of four if you make under $40,000 a year.  Boy, did we qualify!



I think WIC's cutoff is under 170% of the Federal Poverty Level.  If I had to give a one size fits all number for "lower income" I would go with that (170% of the poverty level for family size).  Of course, as you point out, it should probably be 170% of a certain value of a local area.  $40K a year is very different in LA or NY compared to $40K in the midwest or parts of the south.  It is especially unfair because poeple making $80K in a high cost of living area have less disposable income than people making $40K in a low cost of living area, don't qualify for govt assistance AND pay higher taxes than say, someone making $70K in a low cost of living area who has it made.

 

post #5 of 7

I always want to point out that "poverty level" guideline when I hear people making snide comments about people who rely on TANF (welfare) as being content to live on government hand-outs. I have no doubt that there are some people who want nothing more than to get a free ride from the government, but there are those of us (like me) who are forced into this position and must live like this as a stepping stone on a way to a better life. I feel like a leech sometimes, though, because of the comments of people... and truly, we are not really "living" on TANF, we are just existing.

 

I get $580 a month in food stamps, and $560 in TANF. Just counting my cash "income" that means my family of 4 - me and 3 kids - get by on $6720 per YEAR. That doesn't factor the food stamps, which are a life-saver, but even so I run out every month what with the cost of food on the rise. We don't go hungry because I stock up, and thankfully we get donations weekly of bread and sometimes frozen meat from the VA. I am not happy to live on hand-outs... it's just where I have to be for now.  And they do not give you enough to live comfortably, which I suppose is good because who would want to better themselves if you could be comfortable on TANF alone?

 

However, I just look at those numbers and shake my head. Because if that's a "free ride," then there's some people with some really low expectations in life. I look forward to the day I graduate and hopefully get a good job, and then I can get off "the system." thumb.gif

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekingSerenity View Post

I always want to point out that "poverty level" guideline when I hear people making snide comments about people who rely on TANF (welfare) as being content to live on government hand-outs. I have no doubt that there are some people who want nothing more than to get a free ride from the government, but there are those of us (like me) who are forced into this position and must live like this as a stepping stone on a way to a better life. I feel like a leech sometimes, though, because of the comments of people... and truly, we are not really "living" on TANF, we are just existing.

 

I get $580 a month in food stamps, and $560 in TANF. Just counting my cash "income" that means my family of 4 - me and 3 kids - get by on $6720 per YEAR. That doesn't factor the food stamps, which are a life-saver, but even so I run out every month what with the cost of food on the rise. We don't go hungry because I stock up, and thankfully we get donations weekly of bread and sometimes frozen meat from the VA. I am not happy to live on hand-outs... it's just where I have to be for now.  And they do not give you enough to live comfortably, which I suppose is good because who would want to better themselves if you could be comfortable on TANF alone?

 

However, I just look at those numbers and shake my head. Because if that's a "free ride," then there's some people with some really low expectations in life. I look forward to the day I graduate and hopefully get a good job, and then I can get off "the system." thumb.gif



Well, this is another topic altogether, but I totally 100% support anyone who is eligible for governmental assitance taking it.  I know lots of people who get more than a $6K tax refund just based on their mortgage interest tax deduction *alone* and if society is going to support *that* they sure better support a minimum standard of living for everyone (which I don't think IS what happens, but it sure should).

 

 

 

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post





Well, this is another topic altogether, but I totally 100% support anyone who is eligible for governmental assistance taking it. 

 

 

 


Me, too.  And regarding poverty and low income being different terms - many programs have higher income limits than your standard 'poverty level'.  Applicants can earn up to 200% of FPL (so even higher than the 170% you were talking about up-thread)  and for a family of 4, that is like $45,000 a year.  Which, to me, is borderline between lower income to middle-class. But like you said, that is why middle-class families, if they are above those limits, often have less disposable income than someone who earns $5-10K or so less a year.  Tax refunds are a big part of that, too. 

 

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