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March 13, 2013

ANDERSON: Poverty and income: What’s it all about?


Well, the top 5 percent have had those tax breaks and with record profits have created fewer jobs. What is that about?

According to the Indiana Institute for Working Families (Indiana Community Action Agency Program) the self-sufficiency standard for Clark County for a family of four is an hourly wage of $19.34 per hour, or with both parents working, $9.67 each per hour full-time. The annual wage would need to be $40,837. 

The standard is an important one in that it calculates the income needed to support that family in our respective communities if they were to exist without government support. The Floyd County calculation was the same as Clark’s. If you go to the website for the Indiana Institute for Working Families, you can actually calculate what the income level is for your family in your county. I did, and as a household of two (empty nester) our current income level should be $25,467. It is interesting to do the process with your family because your children can see by what they allow to be budgeted what is necessary and what needs to be paid first.

So, how does that affect the people at the Williams Emergency Shelter? We have 14 people on Social Security Supplemental Income, which equates to an income of $674 a month, or $8,088 per year. The Indiana Institute for Working Families calculates those 14 households should have an income of $17,602 for Clark County and $17,726.00 for Floyd County. In other words, they will never be self-sufficient as long as they receive SSI as their primary income. It is an income-based program so the more they would earn, the more they would lose in SSI, so it would be a trade-off. 

In addition, there are another seven on Social Security disability income between $800 and $1,000 per month. Why are all these folks on disability? Four are older women who have physical disabilities that are very pronounced — one wheelchair bound, one an amputee, three developmentally delayed adults, three with mental health issues and the list goes on. One man has had four operations on his back. 

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