Our lowest income and most vulnerable seniors are headed for big trouble.
The State of California has cut Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for our lowest income seniors effective May 2009 and is looking at cutting even more July 2009. What does this mean; a senior on Social Security that has an income of under $907 per month is eligible for SSI to bring their income up to the $907 in the state of California.
The State of California was adding an additional $233 to the Federal SSI for our low income seniors until May 2009 at which time this amount is being decreased to $196 per month. This is the equivalent to a 16% decrease in income. In July 2009 there is an expected decrease of an additional 20% which will bring the maximum California will pay to $157. This comes to a 10% decrease in overall monthly income for our seniors.
To most people 10% may not seem like much, but to someone that makes $900 per month to have their income reduced by almost $100 is disastrous. This means less food, no air conditioning for hot summer months and not being able to pay for all their medications. Since the Medicare D program came into play seniors that have Medi-Cal benefits now have to pay something for medications, $1-$3 again may not seem like much to most, but if you have to take 10-15 meds per day it adds up very quickly.
According to information I previously received from the Department of Human Services, seniors on SSI in California do not quality for Food Stamps, because it is included in the amount that California pays them for SSI. They should be allowed to get this additional benefit now that their income has decreased; however according the Department of Human Services if a senior receives even $1 in SSI they are not eligible for any Food Stamps.
Recently an additional cut for our seniors that receive Medi-Cal benefits is going into effect July 2009; no more coverage for vision or dental problems. So not only are they losing a substantial portion of there income they will lose health benefits as well.
Our seniors need everyone’s help to survive. Many of the seniors that I work with either don’t have family that can help or their families are barely making it as well.
Why are we not hearing more about this on the news? The state cannot take anymore from the poorest and the most vulnerable residents.