Yesterday, I was reminded that just because an individual or family is living above the federal poverty level does not mean they are not in need of services. While at the Oklahoma Asset Building Coalition’s Regional Meeting in Broken Arrow, I was introduced to the Self-Sufficiency Standard (the Standard), which is considered by some to be an alternative to the federal poverty level. The Standard was published in both 2002 and 2009 by Wider Opportunities for Women in partnership with the Oklahoma Asset Building Coalition, the Oklahoma Association of Community Action Agencies, and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. The Standard is the amount of income families ned to meet their basic necessities without public or private assistance. These basic needs are based on the actual cost of housing, food, child care, health care, transportation, taxes, and miscellaneous. The final report includes data for a single adult and seven types of families. When creating the Standard, it was assumed that:
- All adults work full-time with corresponding work-related expenses
- Employer provides employee and dependents’ health insurance with average premiums and out-of-pocket expenses
- No family members with special needs
- No frills budget (no meals out, entertainment, and the like)
- No one-time purchases (furniture, cars, presents, appliances, etc.)
- No savings or loan payments
This table shows the hourly, monthly, and annual self-sufficiency wage for the seven different family types if they lived in Tulsa County including the City of Tulsa and suburbs.
|Adult + Preschooler||Adult + Infant + Preschooler||Adult + Preschooler + School Age||Adult + School Age + Teenager||Adult + Infant + Preschooler + School Age||2 Adults + Infant + Preschooler||2 Adults + Preschooler + School Age|
|Hr||$16.54||$21.63||$18.93||$13.85||$26.55||$12.39 adult||$11.10 adult|
In the reports linked below, you can view the SSS for different part of Oklahoma. You can also read more about how to use the Standard. In the 2009 Standard you can also see how the federal poverty level and the Standard differ for different types of families.
To view the Self-Sufficiency Standard for 2002, click here.
To view the Self-Sufficiency Standard for 2009, click here.
To read the Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Blog about the Self-Sufficiency Standard, click here.