Starting in June 2019, major changes are coming to Californians who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Previously, SSI recipients were ineligible in California to also receive CalFresh (SNAP) benefits. This will end in June!
For more information, check out our SSI Repients page on our website.
Nonprofit and community organizations can find helpful resources on our SSI partner page.
When the SSI program began in the 1970’s, states were given the option to include a cash benefit for food, lumped into SSI payments, instead of providing food stamps for SSI recipients. This was known as the “SSI Cashout” and was a way for states to save on administrative costs while still providing for their low-income residents.
Over the years, the SSI Cashout has become a problem for many low-income Californians. One of the problems is that the $10 food benefit started in the 1970’s never saw an increase. in 2019, SSI recipients still get the same $10 for food assistance, while they remain ineligible for CalFresh benefits. Additionally, the current individual SSI benefit total is the same level it was in 1983! Someone on SSI will receive an average payment of $932/month while the 2019 federal poverty level is $1,040/.month.
What does this all mean?
Many Californians are below the poverty level and struggling to meet their basic needs. Those on SSI often have to make the tough choices between paying for housing, medicine, and food. The Hunger Coalition was active and instrumental in gathering momentum to end SSI Cashout an reinstate state funding to increase SSI benefits and a Cost of Living Adjustment. This year, these efforts were successful! The changes that take effect in June 2019 have the potential to significantly reduce food insecurity among seniors and people with disabilities in San Diego County and across the state of California.
The San Diego Hunger Coalition is actively training and working with local nonprofit organizations, the County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency, and the California Department of Social Services to educate and inform those affected by the changes and encourage those eligible for CalFresh to apply. We have created special web pages with information and resources for both SSI recipients and the organizations that serve them.
Questions? Contact Jaqueline Hess, CalFresh Program Manager, at email@example.com.