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Information on the Impact of the Census Adjustment on LSC Basic Field Funding

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

On April 30, 2013, LSC held a webinar on the Impact of the Census Adjustment on LSC Grantees FY2013 and FY2014 Basic Field Funding.

A recording of the webinar is available below. If your Internet connection is fast enough, you may find the smaller text in the video is more clear when watching the high definition (HD) version. You can also click here to see a pdf of just the slides.

Following the webinar, LSC staff prepared a  list of questions and answers based on feedback from people who participated in the webinar.Click here to read the questions and answers.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Revised Census Data Following LSC’s April 30, 2013 Webinar:

Q:  The census adjustments will be made over two years, with the first half done in the last six checks of 2013 (beginning on June 1) and the second half in 2014.  The Excel calculation sheet sent out appears to contemplate that one quarter of the cuts will be taken out of our checks in 2013.  Why does the spreadsheet show 25% for 2013 instead of 50%?

A:  Only the last six payments of 2013 (for June-December) will reflect 50 percent of the census adjustment. Because those are only half of the payments for the full year, and because the January-May payments were made without the census adjustment, the full-year 2013 effect of the census adjustment will be only 25 percent.  If we were to try to implement 50 percent of the adjustment for all of 2013, we would have to make the June-December checks reflect 100 percent of the adjustment, which seems inconsistent with Congress’s instruction to implement the change over a two-year period. 

Q:  I understand that the remainder of the adjustment will be taken out of the first check in 2014 (the double check for January and November).  Is that true, or will the funds be taken out of all 11 checks?

A:  Each 2014 check will be equal in amount (assuming no change in LSC’s appropriation) and will reflect the full census adjustment.  We will not reduce the January payments for the full-year 2014 adjustment and then make subsequent payments as if the census adjustment had not occurred.

Q:  I heard that one-half of the census adjustment would be implemented in 2013 and the other half in 2014 (reducing our January payment).    However, on your calculation sheet for cell C18 “Total Census Adjustment for 2013,” the explanation for the formula says C17 x 25%.  When I run these numbers it appears that only 25% is implemented in 2013 and 75% in 2014.  Is this an error?  

A:  50% of the adjustment occurs in 2013, but it only applies to one-half of the grant payments.  Therefore if only one-half of the total year’s grant payments reflect the 50% adjustment, the total grant amount for the year reflects only 25% of the adjustment.  One-half (six months) of one-half (50%) = 25%.  In contrast, all of 2014 grants will reflect 100% of the Census adjustment.  

The adjustment is not being applied retroactively; it applies only to those 2013 grant payments (for June-October and December) made after LSC received the poverty numbers from the Census Bureau, e.g., it applies only to six payments, or one-half of the 2013 grant payments.  This will be spread over the last six months. 

Q:  The LSC webinar worksheet, after filling in our information, comes up with an estimated FY14 amount. Should I subject this to another 5% sequestration which is a continuing resolution through the next 9 years?

A:  Since there is no 2014 appropriation yet, the formula uses the total funding for FY 2013 to estimate the FY 2014 number.  The appropriations process for FY 2014 will determine whether sequestration is included in next year’s federal budget.

Q:  What is the source of the new poverty data?  Why is the data based on the ACS (American Community Survey) when there are other sources of poverty data?

A:  The March 2013 Continuing Resolution includes language specifying that the poverty population for LSC service areas should be determined by the Census Bureau every three years.  The Census Bureau made the decision to use the data from the 2011 American Community Survey 3-year estimates.  (Since the ACS does not cover the territories other than Puerto Rico, other Census Bureau data were used to calculate the poverty populations for territories other than Puerto Rico, because the ACS does not cover those areas.)

Q:  My program’s annual 2013 basic field funding (excluding migrant and Native American) and the monthly amount of the June-October and December grant payments provided in the Excel file sent with LSC’s May 3rd email were different from the funding amounts we calculated using the Excel spreadsheet provided for the webinar.  Which are the correct figures?

A: The correct 2013 funding amounts are those contained in the Excel files sent with LSC’s May 3rd email.

Q:  Why was the amount of my program’s funding provided in the Excel file sent with LSC’s May 3rd email different from the funding amounts we calculated using the Excel spreadsheet provided for the webinar?

A:  The differences resulted from the exclusion of migrant funding in our calculation formula.  We tried to make adjustments in the formula to account for this but underestimated the impact.  We noted in the follow-up PowerPoint that the variance could be higher in states with large migrant grants.

Q:  The poverty numbers for my state and service area listed in the Excel file sent with LSC’s May 3rd email are significantly different from the population data in the ACS data sets on the Census Bureau’s website.   Why are these numbers different?

A:  The variance results from the way LSC calculated grant payments for the last half of 2013 to account for the 50% census adjustment.  This calculation was based on the 2013 “blended” poverty numbers, which included one-fourth of the total change in the poverty population since the 2000 Census.