BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     AB 474

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          Date of Hearing:  May 7, 2015 

                            ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON BUDGET

                                Shirley Weber, Chair

          AB 474  
          (Brown and Thurmond) - As Amended April 7, 2015

          SUBJECT:  Public social services: SSI/SSP.

          SUMMARY:  Specifically, this bill:  

          1)For the 2015-16 fiscal year, and annually thereafter, would  
            require the state maximum State Supplementary Payment (SSP)  
            grant for individuals to be readjusted and increased so that  
            the state SSP payment and the federal Supplemental Security  
            Income (SSI) payment, when combined, equal 112 percent of the  
            federal poverty level (FPL).  

          EXISTING LAW:  Existing state law creates the Supplemental  
          Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) program,  
          which provides a monthly cash benefit to enable needy aged,  
          blind, and disabled people to meet their basic living expenses  
          for food, clothing, and shelter.  The state's General Fund  
          provides the SSP portion of the grant while federal funds pay  
          for the SSI portion of the grant.  The 2015-16 Governor's Budget  
          includes $10.1 billion ($7.3 billion federal funds, $2.8 billion  
          General Fund) for the SSI/SSP program.  


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          FISCAL EFFECT:  To increase grants for individuals to 112  
          percent of the FPL, the state would provide $198 to the maximum  
          grant per month (from a total grant of $900 to $1,098).  The  
          marginal grant increase multiplied by 12 months multiplied by  
          1.073 million individual recipients totals an annual and ongoing  
          cost of approximately $2.5 billion.  (Please note that this  
          estimate scenario increases the grant after an already-budgeted  
          federal cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) takes effect on January  
          1, 2016, discussed below).  This change would increase the  
          individual grant on an annual basis from $10,800 to  
          approximately $13,176.  

          COMMENTS:  SSI/SSP Caseload.  To be eligible for SSI/SSP, a  
          person must be at least 65 years old, blind, or disabled  
          (including blind or disabled children).  A qualified recipient  
          must file an application with the Social Security Administration  
          (SSA).  Federal criteria are used to determine eligibility.  A  
          qualified SSI recipient is automatically qualified for SSP.  To  
          be eligible for SSI and maintain eligibility, a person must meet  
          certain income and resource requirements.  

          Caseload is estimated to be 1.53 million individual recipients  
          in 2015-16, a 0.6 percent increase over the 2014-15 caseload.   
          This breaks out into 1.073 million individuals in the program  
          and 230,000 couple cases (two persons in each couple).  The  
          caseload consists of 27 percent aged,    2 percent blind, and 71  
          percent disabled persons.  

          Current Grant Levels.  The Governor's Budget passes through the  
          federal cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for SSI/SSP recipients,  
          1.7 percent for 2015 and a projected 1.5 percent for 2016.   
          These changes keep the SSI/SSP grant levels at their minimum as  
          allowed under federal law for both couples and individuals in  
          order for the state to maintain eligibility for Medicaid  
          funding.  The grant level that individuals and couples receive  
          varies based on existing income and falling into a specific  
          eligibility category.  There are 25 eligibility categories, each  


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          with a unique maximum grant level.  For purposes of analysis,  
          the administration uses the "maximum" possible grant when we  
          discuss the state of the grants and scenarios for changing the  
          grant.  Effective January 1, 2016, maximum grant levels are $900  
          per month for an individual and $1,512 per month for couples.   
          Today and until December 31, 2015, they are $889 per month for  
          an individual and $1,496 per month for couples.  

          The chart below from the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) in  
          March 2015 displays the maximum monthly SSI/SSP grant for  
          individuals and couples in 2000-01, as compared to proposed  
          grant levels for 2015-16 (after January 1, 2016).  

          SSI/SSP Maximum Monthly Grants Then and Now

          |                    |2000-01      |2015-16         |
          |                    |             |Proposed        |
          |Maximum             |             |                |
          |Grant-Individuals   |             |                |
          |SSI                 |$531         |$744            |
          |SSP                 |181          |156             |
          |Totals              |$712         |$900            |
          |Percent of FPL      |102.3%       |91.8%           |
          |Maximum             |             |                |
          |Grant-Couples       |             |                |
          |SSI                 |$796         |$1,116          |
          |SSP                 |469          |396             |


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          |Totals              |$1,265       |$1,512          |
          |Percent of FPL      |134.9%       |113.9%          |
          |FPL = federal poverty                              |
          |level.                                             |

          2015 Federal Poverty Level.  The chart below displays the 2015  
          FPL at its 100 percent and 112 percent levels (as proposed to be  
          a minimum level for individual grants in this bill).  The FPL is  
          determined by the federal government and the different household  
          levels are displayed for every year at the U.S. Department of  
          Health and Human Services website.  

          |Number of people in |       100% FPL       |         112%         |
          |a household         |                      |                      |
          |One person          |   $11,770 per year   |   $13,182 per year   |
          |(Individual)        |                      |                      |
          |Two people          |   $15,930 per year   |$17,841 per           |
          |                    |                      |year                  |
          |                    |                      |                      |
          |                    |                      |                      |
          |                    |                      |                      |

          Other Impacts.  If the proposal were adopted, the 230,000 couple  
          cases in the program (equating to 460,000 individuals) would not  


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          experience an increase in their monthly grants, both due to the  
          fact that the bill only applies to "individuals" cases and that  
          couples currently receive a combined grant that exceeds 112  
          percent FPL (as shown in the LAO table above, they are at 113.9  
          percent FPL in 2015-16).  

          The Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) provides  
          benefits to aged, blind, and disabled legal immigrants.  The  
          CAPI benefits are equivalent to SSI/SSP program benefits, less  
          $10 per individual and $20 per couple.  The grant increases for  
          individuals would presumably have an effect for the CAPI grants  
          as well, as these grant levels are statutorily tied.  This would  
          increase the cost of the proposal further.  

          SSI/SSP Advocacy.  The Committee has received numerous letters  
          regarding proposed increases in the SSI/SSP grants, though none  
          have been particular to this proposal.  Letters in support of  
          SSI/SSP grant increases have been submitted by the Health and  
          Human Services Network, California Advocates for Nursing Home  
          Reform, California Council of the Blind, and Disability Rights  
          California, among other organizations and numerous individuals.   



          2-1-1 Humboldt

          Access to Independence


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          Alameda County Community Food Bank

          Alameda County Meals on Wheels

          AllCare Alliance 

          Antelope Valley Seniors Network 

          Bay Area Community Services 

          California Alliance for Retired Americans 

          California Association of Area Agencies on Aging 

          California Association of Public Authorities (CAPA)

          California Catholic Conference, Inc.  

          California Commission on Aging (CCoA)

          California Council for the Blind 

          California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) 

          California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)


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          California Hunger Action Coalition  

          California In-Home Supportive Services Consumer Alliance 

          California Senior Leaders Alliance (CSLA) 

          California Senior Legislature 

          Californians for SSI (CA4SSI)

          Californians for Disability Rights, Inc. 

          Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations, Inc. 

          Community Resources for Independent Living 

          Courage Campaign 

          Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services 

          Disability Rights California 

          Educate. Advocate. 

          Feeding America San Diego


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          Food for People, Inc.  

          Gray Panthers of San Francisco 

          Hunger Action Los Angeles 

          Hunger Advocacy Network

          Imperial County Board of Supervisors  

          Imperial Valley Food Bank

          Insight Center for Community Economic Development  

          Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS)

          Jewish Family Service of San Diego 

          Jewish Labor Committee Western Region  

          Justice in Aging 

          Los Angeles Community Action Network

          Meals on Wheels Alameda County  


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          Meals on Wheels Greater San Diego 

          Mercy Brown Bag Program 

          Mission for the Homeless, Inc. 

          Older Women's League (OWL) Sacramento 

          Orange County Food Access Coalition 

          Redwood Empire Food Bank 

          Resources for Independent Living (RIL) 

          Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee 

          San Diego Hunger Coalition 

          San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP)

          Senior and Disability Action 

          Senior Services Coalition of Alameda County 

          SF Marin Food Bank


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          Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living  

          St. Anthony Foundation 

          St. Francis Living Room

          St. Francis Marin Food Bank 

          St. Mary's Center 

          Tenderloin Housing Clinic 

          Thai Community Development Center 

          The Resource Connection Food Bank 

          California Council of the blind (CCB) 

          Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College 

          Venice Community Housing Corporation 

          Volunteers of East Los Angeles (VELA) 

          Western Center on Law & Poverty 


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          Women Organizing Resources, Knowledge and Services (WORKS) 


          None on File 

          Analysis Prepared by:Nicole Vazquez / BUDGET / 916-319-2099