California’s Food Stamps Program Is Expanding to Include 200,000 More People.

Due to the fact that a large number of older and disabled people in California ran out of money after paying for the groceries, medicines, and amenities and is a desperate need of assistance, reported by a senior citizen center of San Fernando, California.

The State of California has changed the law that came in effect on June 1, 2019, that meant to help those under severe financial difficulty especially those who had been ineligible for CalFresh food benefits offered by the state.  New CalFresh rules will vastly increase the number of people eligible for food assistance in California

The change in the law also removed a constraint against receiving CalFresh benefits that were faced by people who were also receiving other benefits namely SSI (supplemental security income) and SSP (state supplementary payments). The removal of the restriction made the retirement-age seniors or persons with disabilities receiving other state-sponsored benefits, eligible for food benefits that could average $110 per month.

This recent development was welcomed with deep pleasure by those masses that would potentially benefit from this fresh legislation. Many among SSI and SSP recipients may not be aware of this change yet, so the Los Angeles County Officials are trying to spread the word to reach the estimated 200,000 eligible people for the benefit of California’s new CalFresh food benefits program.

Eligibility

The new government assistance that was denied to a large portion of poor Californians now offered to them that include elderly, retirement-age seniors and persons with disabilities.

In addition to these, all those eligible individuals already receiving other benefits namely SSI (supplemental security income) and SSP (state supplementary payments) will also be permitted to apply for this new food assistance program.

By the estimates of the California Department of Social Services over 500,000 recipients of SSI will become newly eligible for CalFresh, the majority of whom are adults 60 and older.

Organizations helping people signing up

The motion was authored by County Supervisor Hilda Solis has recommended the Department of Social Services to work in collaboration with other line departments and community groups of the county to make sure the participation of SSI and SSP beneficiaries in CalFresh program.

The director of the senior citizen center in Reseda, Jenna Hauss confirmed the availability of a grant by an organization called ONEgeneration to help the target group apply for the new food assistance program. The organization has been implementing outreach activities since April 2019 in low-income housing communities.

The organization has also planned to facilitate the multiple application processes at their center or at the residence of those who are too weak to wait for extended periods at the office of the Authority, so that majority of the eligible people successfully apply.

The local hospitals’ staff and office workers of the authority are also going out to help out with sign-ups, this support also includes MEND Poverty, an emergency food bank offering meals for homeless individuals in addition to operating a medical, dental and eye care clinic.

Another charity called “North Valley Caring Services”, that organizes food giveaway event every Friday and also runs a “safe parking program” for people sleeping in their cars said that they are also planning to hire extra people to help get people signed up for benefits of CalFresh.

The North Valley Caring Services group is going to formally open a resource center for homeless individuals and households in July 2019 where personnel from LA Family Housing, housing for homeless services agency, and the Los Angeles Unified School District will be permanently stationed.

Similarly, the Los Angeles City Department of Aging officials announced in a statement that they are collaborating with the county and plan to roll out more outreach soon at the city’s senior centers.

Application time

According to the official statements, it can take about a month for CalFresh applicants to know if they got accepted or denied for the benefits,  that allow people to make healthier eating choices.

The successful recipients will be able to choose stuff from the market that is healthier and better for their diet meeting their dietary requirements.

The food benefits offered under the program can be accessed through a card at the cash register, which will be accepted at the majority of grocery stores, farmers markets, and many quick service restaurants.

Impact

  • California State officials, campaigners, and activists working for work with senior citizens say the extending CalFresh benefits will become a central safety net for many people in the fastest growing section of Californian population.
  • Based on the national statistics it can be safely estimated that up to half of all older Americans are exposed to malnutrition. Many of them encounter a very difficult choice every month, of buying food or paying others such as rent, healthcare, and utility bills.
  • Average assistance of up to $110 a month under this new food assistance program could be life-changing for older adults in an extremely difficult financial situation.

 

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