Action Alert: People with mental illness don’t deserve to live in poverty

Man in need. Unhappy homeless man is holding hands to get help.

Nearly 1.3 million Californians currently receive Supplemental Security Income and the State Supplemental Payment. More than 70% are disabled and unable to work, often due to a serious mental illness.

In 2007, the SSP grant was cut to the federal minimum and the cost-of-living adjustment was suspended and subsequently repealed. This drove the 1 million Californians who rely on this program into poverty.

Today, the total maximum SSI/SSP payment for an individual in California is $889 a month – less than 91 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Without further assistance, our family members living with mental illness who depend upon this grant live on the edge of homelessness and hunger.

California is projecting a significant surplus for the 2016-17 budget and has the opportunity to reinvest in social programs, including the State Supplemental Payment and other supports for individuals living with serious mental illness. The Governor has proposed a modest cost-of-living increase of $17 per month for individuals, which would bring recipients from 91% of the Federal Poverty Level to just 92%.

NAMI California is urging the Legislature and Governor to bring SSI/SSP recipients out of poverty by restoring the grant amount to 100% of the Federal Poverty Level and reinstate the Cost of Living Adjustment.

Please join us in asking California to invest in bringing individuals living with serious mental illness out of poverty.

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