Final California Budget Makes Historic Investments for Older Adults

California's State Capitol, Sacramento CA

In July, Governor Newsom and the Legislature passed as historic budget that invests in all walks of life for Californians. For older adults, this budget is great news; it addresses all 5 goals of the Master Plan for Aging and reverses some long-standing cuts from the Great Recession.

Some of the highlights include a phased-in reversal of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) state supplement grant cuts; expansion of both Medi-Cal to undocumented older adults 50 and older and of the HomeSafe program; and bold investments in housing and homelessness. It also includes the elimination of the Medi-Cal asset test, something California Health Advocates has advocated for for years.

As quoted from our partners Justice in Aging’s summary of the 2021-22 budget, the phased-in elimination of Medi-Cal’s asset test will happen over the next two and a half years. “First, no sooner than July 1, 2022, the state will raise the asset limit in the programs serving older adults and people with disabilities to $130,000 for an individual and $65,000 for each additional family member. This significant increase should allow many people to get on or stay on Medi-Cal without having to impoverish themselves. Then, no sooner than January 1, 2024, the state will eliminate the asset test completely. These changes will expand access to Medi-Cal for approximately 18,000 new beneficiaries and improve access to benefits for almost 2 million Californians currently on Medi-Cal. The budget provides $394 million in FY2022-23 for this change.”

For an overview of the more than 40 budget provisions impacting low-income older adults and people with disabilities organized by the goal areas of the Master Plan for Aging, read Justice in Aging’s Summary of the Final California 2021-22 Budget.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.