April 28, 2016 | It was a packed room at the Senate budget hearing in Sacramento. The sheer number of people was impressive. Of those advocating for increased SSI/SSP, 17% were from Marin County. The rest were from San Francisco and the East Bay.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and State Supplementary Payment (SSP) is income assistance for people who are 65+, blind, or disabled
For Aging Action Initiative (AAI), Supplemental Security Income and State Supplementary Payment is an important issue. This hearing was our opportunity to tell the Senate how hard it is to make ends meet on $889 a month. That’s below the Federal Poverty Level, and less than half of what an average 1BR apartment costs in Marin. It’s nowhere near enough to make ends meet. There are 3,700 people living on SSI/SSP in Marin, and 1,300 are above the age of 65. SSI reform is needed and Marin advocates were there to urge our state leaders to restore the cuts that have been made.
Listening to folks explain what an extra few hundred dollars would mean for their life was powerful–it’s clear so many people on SSI are struggling to meet basic needs
This was a first-time advocacy effort for AAI and it was a huge success to have so many supporters from Marin turn out. It was important to have our county represented during the public comment portion of the hearing. As one attendee described, “It was powerful to be there with so many advocates”. We were heard. We expect to see revisions revisions to the Governor’s proposed state budget sometime in May. Then there will probably be more opportunities for us to advocate together—stay tuned.
Aging Action Initiative (AAI) is a collective effort of over 65 different agencies, grassroots organizations, commission and neighborhood groups, funded by the County of Marin and coordinated by MarinSpace, collaborating for an age-friendly environment. For more information visit agingactioninitiative.org or connect with us on Facebook.
Californians for SSI (CA4SSI) is a statewide coalition of over 200 organizations across the aging, disability rights, housing and homeless, anti-hunger, and anti-poverty sectors. We see the suffering that our most vulnerable residents are facing every day and we seek to ensure that they receive adequate support to live their lives in dignity. For more information visit ca4ssi.org or connect with them on Facebook.