Nearly 6,000 disabled and elderly Humboldt County residents are eligible to apply for CalFresh benefits after the state expanded the nutritional benefits to people on Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP).
Although benefits cannot be granted until June 1, applications can be submitted in May.
Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Social Services Deputy Director Kelly Hampton said, “We have thousands of SSI/SSP recipients in Humboldt County who will really benefit from this expansion. This change will provide some of our most vulnerable community members with the ability to stretch their food dollars.”
She said there will be no change in recipients’ SSI/SSP benefits.
SSI is a federally-funded program administered by the Social Security Administration that provides income support to eligible individuals who are 65 years old or older, blind or disabled. SSI benefits are also available to qualified blind or disabled children.
In 1974, the program opted to give recipients additional SSI benefits instead of providing them the option to apply for Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or food stamps, known in California as CalFresh.
Hampton said the decision made sense in 1974 when food stamps were difficult to utilize and reporting requirements were more strenuous. She said the system is more streamlined now and benefits are available on an Electronic Benefits Card.
To see if you qualify for CalFresh, visit www.getcalfresh.org, phone the DHHS Call Center at 877-410-8809 or visit Social Services’ main office at 929 Koster St. in Eureka.
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