DISABILITY: GOP Wants To Increase Payments
"Thirteen GOP lawmakers are sponsoring legislation to give one million aged, blind and disabled Californians their first pay boost in state supplemental Social Security benefits since 1990," the Scripps-McClatchy News Service/Contra Costa Times reports. The bill (AB 2468) "would double the cost-of-living increase on State Supplemental Payments ... as of next January 1." The move would give beneficiaries an additional "$8 per month for a total of $164.40." However, the "move ... could put Assembly Republicans in a confrontation with Gov. Pete Wilson," because he did not propose a cost-of-living adjustment for State Supplement Payments in the budget he sent to the Legislature last month. The Scripps-McClatchy News Service/Times notes that "State Supplemental Payments are a partial match to federal Supplemental Security Income given to qualified low-income people who receive Social Security."
Too Little, Too Late?
State Assemblywoman Dion Aroner (D-Oakland) said the "proposed GOP increase is too little, too late." She noted that in 1990 the supplemental payments were $244 per month, but were reduced in subsequent years by a total of $87 per month because of the poor health of the state's economy. They have been "frozen at $156.40 per month" since 1994. She said that "[i]n recent years, Democrats have proposed full restoration of the State Supplemental Payments," but the increases have failed to receive GOP backing and have been vetoed by the governor. "So here the Republicans come in an election year with eight bucks. Where have they been?" she asked.
The Best We Can Do
State "Assemblyman Roy Asburn [R-Bakersfield] said costs were the major consideration in setting the increase at $8 per month," the Scripps-McClatchy News Service/Times reports. He said, "Now that we've cleaned up the welfare rolls and the economy is booming, it is time to help those who truly need it." He added that he hopes to receive Wilson's support "given almost daily reports that California's economy is booming and state revenues continue to grow." However, H.D. Palmer of the state Department of Fiance said Wilson had not changed his position about a cost-of-living adjustment for State Supplemental Payments, noting that "California continues to provide the most generous allowances of the industrialized states" (Green, 2/24).