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The Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) program is a critical lifeline that assists over 1 million low-income individuals with disabilities and adults age 65 or older in California by covering expenses such as housing, food, and other essential living costs.

The fiscal year 2021-22 state budget included a significant SSP grant increase of 24%, which became effective on January 1, 2022. This increase has helped to reduce the disparity between grant levels and the Federal Poverty Line (FPL). However, many participants in the program still struggle to afford basic necessities like rent.

Despite the recent increase, grant levels remain insufficient due to damaging budget cuts made by the state during the Great Recession. During this period, the state eliminated the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for the SSP grant. Had the COLA been preserved, grant levels would have already exceeded the FPL. Restoring the COLA can ensure that grants keep up with rising costs especially given recent inflation trends.

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