Chronic poverty is of greater social consequence than transitory poverty but its measurement requires longitudinal data. This article uses six waves of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey to explore the extent to which longitudinal data contribute to what is known about poverty from cross-section data. We find an imperfect correspondence between people's annual poverty status and chronic poverty status. Consequently, policies that aim to reduce chronic poverty using means-tested benefits may be partially misdirected if beneficiaries are identified using annual income. Furthermore, some households experiencing chronic poverty may fall through the safety net.