SSI/SSP in the Governor’s Proposed 2014-15 Budget: Assistance for Seniors and People With Disabilities Is Left Below the Poverty Line

The Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) Program provides modest cash grants — funded with both federal and state dollars — that help 1.3 million low-income seniors and people with disabilities in California to pay for food, housing, and other basic necessities.

A new CBP analysis — the latest in a series of briefs on key components of Governor Brown’s proposed 2014-15 budget — looks at the SSI/SSP Program. This brief shows that despite an improved revenue outlook, the Governor’s proposal does not boost state support for SSI/SSP grants. As a result of recent years’ cuts to the state portion of SSI/SSP grants, the current grant for an individual — $877 as of January 1 — is 10 percentage points below the federal poverty line.

The brief also examines how the cuts to SSI/SSP grants have made it more difficult for low-income seniors and people with disabilities to afford basic living expenses and discusses options that state policymakers have for increasing support for SSI/SSP recipients.

SSI/SSP will be one of the major items taken up today by Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services. The subcommittee will meet at 1:30 p.m. in Capitol Room 4202.

— Steven Bliss