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Some seniors and disabled people will miss out on new California state payments

Cal Matters: Some seniors and disabled people will miss out on new California state payments (July 11, 2022)

Some 23 million Californians’ bank accounts will get a boost of $200 to $1,050, thanks to a new round of payments approved by state lawmakers. 

But the payments, aimed at mitigating higher prices for gas and other goods, will leave out lots of low-income Californians. Among those passed over are some seniors, many living on disability benefits, and some of the lowest-income adults. 

That’s because the direct deposits and debit cards — expected to begin arriving in late October and conclude in January 2023 — will be sent out based on tax returns. 

Lawmakers tried to aid some low-earners who may not file taxes by increasing payments for people receiving CalWorks benefits, a program for needy families. They also increased benefits for people who receive Supplemental Security Income — a state-supplemented version of social security benefits for senior or disabled people who would otherwise not qualify for, or have extremely small social security payments. 

The boosts for people in those two programs are good, said Trinh Phan, a senior staff attorney focused on economic security at Justice in Aging, which advocates for low-income older adults. But, she said, the budget package still leaves out some people who are very low-income. 

For example, someone getting by just on Social Security Disability Insurance could miss out on this rebate and the boosts to CalWorks and Supplemental Security Income: They might earn little enough that they don’t have to file taxes, but if they don’t have kids they likely won’t qualify for CalWorks. And, if their disability benefits pay more than $1060.21 per month, they wouldn’t qualify for Supplemental Security Income either, said Phan. 

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