Impact of SSI COLA on CalFresh

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) informs counties that  Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients received a cost of living increase (COLA) effective January, 2021.  The county computer systems will automatically implement changes in CalFresh benefits because of the SSI COLA based on a federal data match.  The information for the data match will come from the State Data Exchange (SDX) system.  Data from SDX is considered verified upon receipt.  The computer systems will generate no change, benefit reduction or discontinuance notices based on the SSI COLA.

For CalFresh recipients not captured in the data match, counties must manually update the SSI payment amount at the next periodic report or annual recertification.

For new applicants, SSI payment amounts can be verified through SDX, Benefit Data Exchange, and/or verification provided by the household.

For new applicants, the actual amount of Social Security benefits, including the increase, must be used for eligibility and budgeting purposes beginning January, 2021.

For CalWORKs families in the final month of their semi-annual reporting period, counties must reasonably anticipate the increase in the Social Security amount for the upcoming semi-annual reporting period.

Counties must take mid-period action to adjust benefits effective January 1, 2021, for all cases in which Social Security benefits are being used to determine CalWORKs grant amounts.  If counties cannot change CalWORKs grants as a result of the increase Social Security payment, they must take action to decrease the grant amount on the first of the month after time, adequate notice can be given.  If the calculation results in a decrease in benefits, counties must establish an overpayment.  (ACIN I-88-20, November 19, 2020.)