From Assemblymember Phil Ting
 

Strengthening Assistance Programs

With COVID-19 still persisting, millions of Californians remain reliant on social services and other assistance to help meet their basic needs. As Assembly Budget Chair, I'm happy to share the latest state budget has strengthened many of its safety net programs.

One of the more impactful changes targets families on CalWORKs. They will see an eleven percent boost to their grants, plus another ten percent increase on top of that, which will be temporarily added from October 2022 through September 2024. In addition, California is taking steps to allow single parents getting cash aid through CalWORKs to also keep their child support checks. The state traditionally hangs on to these payments to reimburse itself for the welfare grants, but we are ending this practice in the next few years.

The health of our most vulnerable is equally important. The state budget expands Medi-Cal eligibility, making California the first state to cover income-eligible residents regardless of immigration status. The program is currently open to those ages 25 and under, and 50 years old and above. By 2024, healthcare access will be given to the remaining age group, 26 to 49 years old.

Moreover, food insecurity amid rising grocery prices has been an issue as well. We're working to broaden access to the California Food Assistance Program, so that residents 55 years old and older qualify, regardless of immigration status. The budget further addresses hunger through food banks, by allocating more than $100 million over two years to help them meet increased demand.

Lastly, we've provided another $1.4 billion for utility customers who are behind on their bills because of pandemic-related impacts.

Government is supposed to be there for its people, and I'm glad we can continue supporting struggling Californians during this difficult time.

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PHIL TING
Assemblymember, 19th District


 
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