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On Social Security? You Can Now Use CalFresh!

CalFresh logoAs of Summer 2019, individuals receiving or authorized to receive SSI/SSP are eligible for CalFresh, provided all other eligibility criteria are met. SSI/SSP benefits will NOT be reduced as a result of this change. The change simply means that someone is allowed to receive both SSI and CalFresh at the same time.

  • Many SSI recipients will need to affirmatively apply for CalFresh.
  • To make sure that you are receiving the maximum benefit you are entitled to, many common expenses are deductible. These are listed below.
  • CalFresh is administered per household. Households where some members already receive CalFresh may qualify for a new state-funded nutrition benefit in addition to or instead of the CalFresh benefit.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) interprets the “separate household” rule in 7 C.F.R. § 273.1(b)(2) to mean that elderly and disabled individuals residing with others can actually constitute a separate household, even when the elderly and disabled individuals “purchase and prepare meals” together with those with whom they live.
  • However “the income of those with whom they reside (excluding the income of the elderly and disabled person) must be no more than 165 percent of the Federal poverty income guideline.” [7 C.F.R. § 273.1(b)(2); MPP § 63-402.17.]

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Who can deduct medical expenses?

  • Households with at least one “elderly” or “disabled” person can deduct non-reimbursed medical costs over $35 a month. 
  • For purposes of the medical expense deduction, “elderly” is defined as age 60 or older. For purposes of the medical expense deduction, disabled means receiving certain disability benefits, such as Social Security disability benefits, government agency retirement disability benefits, disability-based general assistance, disability based Medi-Cal, veterans’ disability benefits, or other interim disability benefits pending the SSI approval.

What medical expenses can be deducted?

The costs of special diets are excluded as medical expense. Allowable medical costs include:

  • Costs of medical and dental care
  • Hospitalization or nursing care (including hospitalization or nursing care of an individual who was a household member immediately prior to entering a hospital or nursing home)
  • Prescription medication
  • Over-the-counter medication (including insulin and vitamins but not nutritional supplements) when prescribed or approved by a licensed qualified health professional
  • Health and hospitalization insurance policies (excluding the costs of health and accident or income maintenance policies)
  • Medicare premiums
  • Dentures, hearing aids and prosthetics
  • Costs for obtaining/maintaining any animal specially trained to serve the needs of elderly or disabled program participants
  • Reasonable transportation and lodging expenses needed to obtain medical treatment
  • Special telephone equipment for a person with disabilities
  • Prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses
  • Care for a child with disability
  • Attendant services performed by someone outside of the household (even if that person is a relative)
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Psychotherapy

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