The SSI/SSP program provides cash assistance to low-income persons who are elderly, disabled, or blind. Major factors explaining the growth in the SSI/SSP disabled caseload include the increase in AIDS-related disabilities, federal expansion of eligibility, increased life expectancy, and outreach programs.
The number of persons considered disabled due to drug addiction and alcoholism and thereby eligible for SSI/SSP has increased significantly in the last four years. This is consistent with the national trend. Since 1988, California's share of the nationwide caseload in this category has remained about the same.
The SSI/SSP grant for aged or disabled individuals was above the poverty level until 1994 when the monthly SSI/SSP grant for individuals was 98 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
California's SSI/SSP grant to aged or disabled couples has exceeded the Federal Poverty Level.
In January 1994, California's SSI/SSP grant levels were 13 percent larger for aged or disabled individuals and 44 percent higher for aged or disabled couples than those in the state with the second highest grants. (Effective September 1994, California reduced the SSP portion of the grant by up to 2.3 percent for most payment categories.)
Of the ten largest states, five do not provide any state supplemental grant, while California, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey do provide a supplemental grant. In states without the supplement, eligible persons receive only the federal SSI amount ($446 for individuals or $669 for couples in 1994.)
Since 1991-92, the growth rate in total expenditures for the IHSS program has slowed significantly (from 11 percent to 2 percent) due primarily to:
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