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It has been over a decade since the Great Recession devastated our state’s economy, caused massive state budget shortfalls, and undercut the short- and long-term economic and social prospects for millions of Californians. As revenues fell, state policymakers balanced the budget, in part, by making drastic cuts to social safety net programs such as Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP), which helps to support more than 1 million seniors and people with disabilities with low incomes. California is now well into its economic recovery, and state policymakers have spent recent years preparing for another downturn by creating a healthy budget surplus. However, policymakers still have not yet reversed the cuts they made to SSI/SSP. This Issue Brief explores why SSI/SSP is such an important resource for Californians with low incomes, particularly older women and people of color, and why state policymakers should reinvest in the program that helps people be able to pay for their basic needs.

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