As of June 1st, 2019, SSI/SSP recipients are eligible to apply for CalFresh, as is the case in every other state in the country. This presents a tremendous opportunity to increase food security for this population, and it will require a coordinated effort between the state, counties, and advocates alike.
Supplemental Security Income, or ‘SSI,’ is a federally funded program that provides a modest monthly benefit to low-income people who are 65 or older, blind, or disabled. In California, the SSI payment is augmented by a State Supplementary Payment, or ‘SSP,’ which brings the maximum monthly benefit for an individual living alone to $910.74, an amount that forces many low-income seniors and people with disabilities to live in poverty.
Until June 2019, California remained to be the only state in the country that barred SSI recipients from CalFresh eligibility. This has exacerbated hunger and poverty across the state for this population, leading many SSI recipients to rely on local food banks, pantries and hot meal sites for their daily nutrition.
CAFB and food banks have been at the heart of the Californians for SSI (CA4SSI) coalition that championed this historic victory in the 2018-19 state budget, ending the exclusion on CalFresh that has been in place since 1974. This is estimated to make some 500,000 SSI recipients eligible for CalFresh, easily one of the single-larges steps towards our mission of ending hunger in California.
If you have questions about any of these resources or information, please reach out to Becky Gershon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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