CA4SSI letter to our CA Congressional Delegation
Here is our recent sign-on letter to the California Congressional Delegation about the need to strengthen and protect the SSI program.
September 26, 2016 CA4SSI Statement on AB 1584 Veto:
Californians for SSI is disappointed that Governor Brown has vetoed AB 1584 (Brown) that would have permanently restored the state Cost of Living Adjustment for SSI/SSP benefits in California. Despite the Governor’s COLA in the 2016-17 budget – an important first step that we recognize as the first reinvestment in a decade – SSI/SSP recipients still suffer from significant cuts that have dropped many into poverty and homelessness while the cost of basic necessities such as housing and food continue to rise. The Governor’s veto message indicates his desire that these discussions take place in the context of the budget. We hope that the Governor will again recognize the imperative for restorations in the SSI/SSP program that will be reflected in his January budget proposal. Eight years after the recession SSI recipients are the group that still lives under the most draconian cuts. SSI recipients not only need the COLA restored they need the grant cuts restored so no recipient is living below the poverty level.
February 2016 Letter to California Budget Committee:
Increase the SSI/SSP Grant Above the Poverty Level
Our organization joins with Californians for SSI in calling on the Legislature to increase the SSI/SSP grant amounts above the federal poverty level for Californians who are blind, seniors, and/or living with disabilities. While almost every area of the state budget has had funds and programs restored in recent years, SSI/SSP recipients have not received any restorations. We believe it is long past time for this to occur.
We appreciate that Governor Brown has proposed in his budget the first increase in ten years to the SSI grant’s state contribution, the State Supplemental Payment (SSP), by offering a cost of living adjustment. We are also pleased that pro tem Kevin De Leon and members of the Senate have proposed an increase in the SSI/SSP grant amount in their “No Place Like Home Initiative.” The Assembly has proposed SSI/SSP grant increases in each of the last two budgets. Now is the time for the Legislature and the Governor to work together and take action.
We are asking that the Governor and the Legislature take the following actions in this year’s budget:
First, increase the base amount of SSP until the maximum individual SSI/SSP grant is above 100 percent of the federal poverty level. These recipients have to pay for housing, food and all other living expenses entirely from the SSI/SSP grant amount and many are struggling to stay housed.
Second, once the SSI/SSP grant is above the federal poverty level the state should provide cost of living increases by restoring the prior statute for an SSI/SSP cost of living adjustment, which was repealed in the 2009-10 budget. This will ensure that the grants never drop below the poverty level again.
By taking these two actions, the Governor and the Legislature can reduce the number of Californians living in poverty by more than 1 million people. SSI/SSP recipients have the right to live in dignity, not poverty, and we urge you to take the steps needed to make this happen this year.