Assembly's Rudy Salas, sponsors bill to increase Social Security for seniors, disabled

By The Leader Staff
Local Assemblyman Rudy Salas at a recent event.
Local Assemblyman Rudy Salas at a recent event.

Assemblymember Rudy Salas, who represents the Central Valley, including Lemoore and Hanford, this week introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1941, legislation to give California beneficiaries of State Supplementary Program for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled increased benefit of $600 in years that the state has a budget surplus.

According to Salas, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected vulnerable members of society such as the elderly, disabled, and blind. Over 15 million Americans aged 65 and older are economically insecure, living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

“With the state’s historic budget surplus, we must do more to help seniors and disabled individuals on fixed incomes,” said Salas. “AB 1941 will help seniors who are struggling to choose between putting food on the table and receiving life-saving medications.”

Many older adults and disabled individuals need help with day-to-day activities such as housework, meal preparation, medication management, and shopping. These services are often costly. The National Council on Aging has found that current government benefits have not been enough to lift or prevent older individuals from experiencing financial hardship during times of economic instability.

The Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy’s 2021 Survey of Older Adults also reported that the percentage of older adults in the U.S. who had used up all or most of their savings or lost their source of income because of the pandemic were four to six times higher than other developed countries.

“This bill helps to take our most vulnerable population out of poverty and place them in a position where they can become more productive and self-sufficient,” said Bobbie Wartson, Executive Director of the Kings County Commission on Aging.

AB 1941 calls for a senior stimulus and a boost to benefits for the disabled and blind anytime there is a state surplus. The bill now awaits referral to the Assembly Rules committee.   

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