You asked for an explanation of the "cash out" rule which applies to California federal SSI benefit recipients. The rule is quite simple: rather than receive federal nutrition assistance benefits, known as Food Stamps but now known as "Cal Fresh" benefits, SSI recipients receive a State Supplement Payment or the "SSP" which is paid by the State of California and which is consistent with the amount of CalFresh benefits that the SSI recipient would receive.
The SSP program represents a cost-savings to county welfare departments that do not have to process quarterly (formerly monthly) income reports from recipients. Also, because the SSP is paid by the state through the federal SSI program, the state saves money in terms of the monthly administration of the benefit program.
From the SSI recipient's perspective the SSP program does assure the person of a significantly higher level of income than is received in most other states. The downside of the SSP program is that the state of California can reduce the benefit payment, as it did recently, because of budget problems. What you should understand is that the SSP stays constant regardless of any of the factors that could result in an increase or decrease in CalFresh benefits based on housing costs. Right now you are probably thoroughly confused so I will explain things this way: the most important factor after income for Cal Fresh benefits are housing expenses. The blanket SSP or state supplement that applies to all California SSI recipients represents a tradeoff that generally favors the SSI recipient.
Check the link below, which indicates that for 2013 the SSI rate for California residents is $866.00 per month. Of this amount, the federal SSI payment is $710.00 per month; the SSP payment is $156.00 per month for 2013.
This is not a substitute for a consultation with a public benefits attorney or advocate in your community.
Ms. Macklin's answer cannot be added to. Best of luck to you.
The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.
I agree with attorney Macklin's answer; however, I will add the following information. The SSI benefit amount changes every year due to what is called a cost of living adjustment. As I am sure you know, your benefit amount is also affected many other factors including, but not limited to your resources (bank accounts, automobiles, property owned), whether you stop or start working, whether anyone else moves into or out of your household, whether you marry, separate, or divorce, or whether you are in a hospital, jail, or other institution for a full calendar month. Without knowing more about your circumstances, I cannot tell you with certainty what your benefit amount will be. Your best course of action is to speak to a representative at your local SSA office. Good Luck!