Changes to California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

" "Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that provides monthly payments to people who have limited income and few resources. SSI is for people who are age 65 or older, as well as for those of any age, including children, who are blind or who have disabilities. People who have worked long enough may also be able to receive Social Security disability or retirement benefits as well as SSI.

You can now file for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) online but only if you meet certain requirements. You are eligible to file online for SSI if you:

  • Are between the ages of 18 and 65;
  • Have never been married;
  • Aren’t blind;
  • Are a U.S. citizen residing in one of the fifty states, District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands;
  • Haven’t applied for or received SSI benefits in the past; and
  • Are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance at the same time as your SSI claim. Find out if you are eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits.

If you receive SSI and live in California, you will soon be eligible to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as CalFresh. California is currently the only state where SSI recipients are not eligible for SNAP benefits because a food assistance benefit is included in the State Supplementary Payment (SSP). The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is ending the state’s cash-out for SNAP benefits in the SSP. Beginning June 1, 2019, SSI recipients living in California will be eligible for CalFresh, provided all other eligibility criteria are met. Your SSP will not be reduced because of this change in the law.

Starting June 1, 2019, Social Security staff will screen California SSI applicants and recipients who live in all-SSI households for eligibility to have field office personnel take their SNAP/CalFresh application.

Visit the CDSS website to apply for CalFresh, or for more details about this change in the California state law.

If you are a California resident in an all-SSI household, receive or are applying for SSI, and need assistance with your SNAP/CalFresh application, please contact your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can speak to a Social Security representative between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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