The federal Social Security Administration (Social Security) runs the SSI program. The California Department of Health Services (“DHS”) runs the Medi-Cal program (called Medicaid in other states) under an agreement with the federal government. The Department of Social Services in each county, commonly known as the “welfare department,” administers the Medi-Cal program locally.
An SSI beneficiary receives support because the beneficiary is aged, blind, or disabled and his or her assets and income are low enough to meet a “means test”. The beneficiary must not have too many assets or too much income as discussed in detail below. SSI is intended to pay for the beneficiary’s food and shelter. The maximum SSI amount in California for an adult in an Independent Living Arrangement is $1,086 (in 2009). This is composed of a federal contribution of $674 and a state contribution of $412. Because SSI is a supplementary income program, almost all unearned income other than SSI will reduce the SSI amount the beneficiary is entitled to receive. If such outside income is big enough, it will reduce SSI to zero.