IN THE LOOP
The news you need to know this week
Welcome to the latest edition of our update on the news you need to know and how it affects you and the communities we serve. Every couple of weeks we send out an e-mail featuring important updates, and you can sign up below! As always, thank you for your support of APLA Health, and please share this with others who may be interested.
If You Are on SSI, You Can Collect CalFresh Food Assistance Starting in June
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients are now eligible for CalFresh (formerly known as the food stamp program) in California for the first time since 1974. If you or anyone in your family is disabled or a senior citizen, and any part or all of your income is from SSI, you can apply now.
Please contact APLA Health’s Benefits Department for assistance. You can apply during the month of May, and can start receiving a CalFresh debit card in June. The cards can be used at any grocery store or farmers market.
SSI recipients are eligible for anywhere from very minimal amount of food assistance up to close to $200 a month. CalFresh will determine your eligibility and the amount of food stamps you can collect based on your income, family status, rent and other considerations.
For example: A single individual living alone whose only income is SSI and who pays $350 of their monthly income toward rent might qualify for about $75 in CalFresh, while a senior in the same situation who pays $750 in rent might qualify for the current maximum CalFresh benefit for an individual of $192.
SSI is one of Social Security’s disability and senior citizen payment programs. In 1974, California included a $10 a month food allowance in the state portion of SSI payments, and because of that allowance, SSI recipients were barred from collecting other food assistance at the same time. (The allowance was $20 a month for married couples).
California ended the food allowance program in last year’s state budget.
For a fuller explanation of the benefits and how your circumstances affect eligibility, please see the Fact Sheet from the good folks at Justice in Aging.
Call APLA Health’s benefits appointment line to schedule a time to file your application: 213-201-1615
Census 2020 is Coming... and You Need to Know How and Why to Respond
What is the census?
The census count begins in just under a year, on April 1, 2020. Every 10 years, the federal government undertakes a constitutionally mandated count of the US population. 2020 is the first time that the census count will rely heavily on online responses.
Why does the census matter? And why is an accurate census count important?
Census data determines electoral district lines and determines the number of seats a state holds in the US House of Representatives. It also guides funding allocations for more than 300 federal programs with $800 billion allocated annually based on the count. In California, the 2010 census counted 37,253,956 million Californians and generated $71 billion in federal funds for programs including education, healthcare, housing, transportation, and many programs for low-income individuals and families. An accurate census count ensures that district lines and political power are fairly drawn and allocated.
Why is Census 2020 controversial?
There is a proposed rule to add a question about citizenship status to the census, and many people think the question will intentionally discourage non-citizens from responding and disclosing their citizenship status. The Supreme Court will decide whether the question can be included by the end of June. If non-citizens don’t respond to the 2020 census it could result in a massive undercount especially in California, where one in four of the nation’s immigrants live. An undercount would hurt California’s most vulnerable populations and significantly undermine equal representation and funding for vital programs. It is projected that a large enough undercount in the 2020 census could result in Los Angeles losing a Congressional seat and as much as $3 billion in lost funding for vital programs.
Over 60 Advocates Convene in Sacramento for End the Epidemics Day of Action
On April 30, more than 60 advocates convened in Sacramento for the first ever End the Epidemics Day of Action. The event brought together community members from across the state to meet with nearly 40 elected officials about the need for a statewide strategy to end the HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and STD epidemics. It was the largest advocacy day for the HIV, HCV, and STD communities in more than a decade.
The End the Epidemics Day of Action is part of a community-driven effort to end the HIV, HCV, and STD epidemics in California. Earlier this year, more than 150 organizations released a community consensus statement calling on Governor Newsom and the California Legislature to convene a statewide task force on HIV, HCV, and STDs. Newsom committed to launching a statewide initiative to end the HIV and HCV epidemics during his campaign. Advocates are urging him to fulfill that commitment and address California’s skyrocketing STD rates as part of this effort.
Advocates are also calling for new investments in public health programs to address HIV, HCV, and STDs. Although California has done an excellent job of expanding health coverage, the state’s public health efforts are significantly underfunded. Advocates are urging lawmakers to include $60 million in next year’s state budget to support prevention, testing, and treatment services for these conditions.
The 2019-20 state budget will be finalized in the coming weeks. Please contact your elected officials and urge them to fund prevention and treatment services for HIV, HCV, and STDs.
Share Your Story
APLA Health provides services to more than 15,000 people, and we want to know their stories. Have you been receiving services from APLA Health? Are you a new patient or client? Have you or a loved one been affected by HIV? Has a staff member gone above and beyond what you were expecting? We want to know the full story. What are we are doing well? How we can serve you better?
Stay in the loop!
We will send you regular updates on issues and policies affecting the LGBT and/or HIV communities and urge you to call or e-mail your representatives about key political activity at the local, state, and federal levels.