Beginning June 1, elderly and disabled residents who receive federal Supplemental Security Income became eligible to enroll in the CalFresh program without getting any of their Social Security benefits decreased. The expansion provides a significant increase in quality of life and the ability to meet one’s basic needs, as SSI recipients previously were not able to participate in CalFresh. Instead they only got a flat $10 added to their monthly Social Security benefit if they applied for additional benefits for food. This additional $10 a month fell woefully short of helping with basic food costs with the rapid increase in housing and living expenses.
Now seniors and those with disabilities that are newly eligible for CalFresh are averaging over $100/month in food benefits. Those who use these benefits at local farmers markets can essentially have that amount doubled, as participating farmers markets will match the money CalFresh beneficiaries spend. The state estimates that by the end of December, six months into the launch of the expansion, it should see about 400,000 SSI recipients enroll in CalFresh.
For more information, you can also read our previous article, CalFresh Benefits Available to Seniors & People with Disabilities on SSI as of June 1.