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Elderly, Disabled Rally For Aid Restoration

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

SSP recipients rally outside the California Capitol on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

About 1.3 million Californians receive Supplemental Security Income and State Supplemental Payments from the federal and state governments. The grants go to the blind, disabled and low-income seniors.

During the recession California reduced its portion of the grants by about $80 a month for individuals and more than $170 a month for couples. It also eliminated its cost-of-living adjustment. Now recipients say it's time to restore both.

Oakland resident Nadine Dixon says it's hard for her to survive on the smaller state benefits.

"The COLA need to be reinstated so that I can afford to pay landlords so that I have a roof over my head and some food in my belly that is nutritious and healthy so that my physical health and my mental health can be stabilized," she says.

Community advocate Colleen Rivecca says SSP recipients are often in vulnerable situations.

"Instead of taking care, what we are doing is we're leaving them in poverty, and that's just wrong," she says. "The state of California should be taking steps starting now to lift our seniors and people with disabilities out of poverty."

Governor Jerry Brown’s office issued a statement on the program.

"This important program will receive nearly $3 billion in state funding under the Governor's proposed budget and additional Federal funding for a cost-of-living adjustment," it says. "As California's finances stabilize, the state will continue to balance targeted investments with fiscal prudence."