Impact of Social Security COLA on CalWORKs and CalFresh

Effective January 1, 2024, Social Security and SSI benefits will increase by a 3.2 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA).  For new  CalWORKs and CalFresh applications, the new Social Security and SSI amounts will be considered reasonably anticipated income beginning for January, 2024.

For CalWORKs Assistance Units and CalFresh households in their final month of their semi-annual reporting period, counties must reasonably anticipate the increase in Social Security and SSI.

The amount of the Social Security COLA is considered to be known to the county, and must be acted upon mid-period.  This means that benefits must be adjusted to reflect the new Social Security and SSI amounts effective January 1, 2024.

If the county cannot change the CalWORKs or CalFresh amount to reflect the Social Security COLA, counties must decrease the benefit amount after it gives timely and adequate notice.  In that case, January benefits will need to be recalculated and there may be overpayment or overissuance.

Although SSI payments are exempt for CalWORKs, counties must still update income information.  (ACIN I-64-23, October 30, 2023.)