California has the highest rate of senior poverty in the nation; increasingly more older Californians struggle to make ends meet and stay in their homes, and senior homelessness is on the rise. Over a million California seniors and people with disabilities rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to help them meet their basic needs. There are people who depend on SSI to survive in every community in the state. The majority of SSI recipients are women, and the program is critical for many people of color and people with limited English proficiency. It’s also an essential safety net for nearly 300,000 California retired older adults who receive some Social Security, but not enough, because they worked in low-wage or seasonal jobs, or stayed home from work to care for family members.
Please use this new Justice in Aging SSI fact sheet for California that shows who relies on SSI, why it’s important, and the dangers cuts to the program would pose for low-income individuals, families, and communities.
With leaders in Congress intent on cutting benefits like SSI, it’s critical that advocates proactively educate lawmakers, the media, and fellow advocates about the important role SSI plays in ensuring that some of the most vulnerable people in our state can meet their basic needs for shelter, food, and other necessities. Given the significant number of low-income older adults in California, Justice in Aging recently launched two new projects to improve access to and utilization of SSI benefits among older adults across the state. We are building a strong coalition of statewide advocates who are informed about and trained in the details of the SSI program, including how SSI reduces homelessness, and working toward systemic improvements of the program.