The Hunger Coalition is hard at work to get this vitally important legislation passed. We need your help by April 21st. Please see below for direct action that you can take, and consider sharing this blog and our SSI Policy Brief with others.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program funded jointly by the Federal and state government of California to provide income support to seniors and people with disabilities, including children. Benefit levels for SSI recipients were severely cut during the peak of the Great Recession, leaving many Californian seniors and those with disabilities struggling to put food on the table.
These Californians have incomes below $877 per month, which is well below the poverty level ($981 per month for single person), and about one-third of what is needed for a single elder renting in San Diego County, according to the Insight Center’s Elder Economic Index.
Even worse, California is the only state in the nation in which beneficiaries of SSI cannot receive CalFresh (aka, SNAP or “food stamps”), so they must rely entirely on SSI to pay for rent, food, transportation and utilities. In San Diego County -- the fourth most expensive city for housing in the U.S. -- SSI recipients are clearly at serious risk for hunger, malnutrition and homelessness.
As lead facilitator of the CA4SSI (Californians for SSI), SDHC has invested considerable time in creating and mobilizing this broad-based advocacy coalition of over 75 organizations statewide to defend and strengthen SSI at the state level. CA4SSI released a sign-on letter in December 2014 with more than 140 organizations calling for increased benefit levels. The group continues to gather letters of support from organizations and individuals. Recent C4SSI meetings with policy makers have included budget leadership of the state Senate and Assembly, and the Department of Finance and Budget Chair Shirley Weber.
CA4SSI helped get SSI recipients to three hearings in Sacramento in March. The co-chairs of one hearing — Assembly Members Cheryl Brown and Tony Thurmond — were so moved by people’s descriptions of the struggles of living in poverty that they introduced a bill (AB 474) to reverse the devastating cuts made to the program. It needs your support.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Please join us in our commitment to ensuring disabled and elderly Californians have adequate resources to purchase food.
- As an individual, you can sign this petition that will reach the policymakers in Sacramento: http://bit.ly/CA4SSIPetition
- As an organization, your group can join our coalition, C4SSI, in adding your name to our list of over 75 groups committed to bettering this policy: http://bit.ly/CA4SSIPetition.
- As an organization, you can send a copy of this letter by April 21st, changing out the highlighted areas to reflect your organization's logo and signature.