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Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) grants are a critical source of basic income for well over 1 million low-income people with disabilities and adults age 65 or older in California. Grants are funded with both federal (SSI) and state (SSP) dollars. Currently, the maximum monthly grant for an individual is about $911, which consists of an SSI grant of $750 and an SSP grant of $160.72. In order to help close budget shortfalls during the Great Recession, state policymakers made deep cuts to the SSP portion of the grant, reducing it from $233 per month in early 2009 to $156.40 per month by mid-2011. With an improving fiscal outlook, state policymakers increased the SSP portion by a modest $4.32 per month starting in January 2017. However, no additional state increases have been provided since then, and the Governor’s proposed 2018-19 state budget assumes that the SSP portion will remain frozen for another year. Because state cuts largely remain in place, SSI/SSP recipients have less money in their budgets to buy basic necessities such as medicine and food. (People enrolled in the SSI/SSP program are not eligible for CalFresh food assistance.) They also have less money to pay the rent. In fact, in every county, the “Fair Market Rent” (FMR) for a studio apartment exceeds 50% of the maximum SSI/SSP grant for an individual. People are at greater risk of becoming homeless when housing costs account for more than half of household income.

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