Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federally funded supplemental income program and is available nationwide. SSI provides assistance for seniors 65+; those who are blind or disabled; with little or no income for life’s necessities: food, shelter, and clothing.

In California, eligibility depends on an individual’s geographic location; income (wages, social security benefits, and pensions); and resources (real estate, bank accounts, stock, bonds, and cash). SSI is managed by the state, causing eligibility and benefits to differ from state to state.

SSI recipients are automatically enrolled in Medi-Cal (a.k.a. Medicaid), allowing access to additional programs including In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) which offers in-home care to support elderly, blind, or disabled Medi-Cal recipients to safely remain at home.

To provide outpatient services, the state government will also buy Medicare Part B for SSI/Medi-Cal beneficiaries once they become eligible for Medicare.

In California, beneficiaries receive additional funds within their SSI payment allotted for food, making them ineligible to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (previously known as Food Stamps).

However, SNAP is available while awaiting approval for SSI; when relocating to another state; or if an SSI application is denied.

If an SSI application is denied (due to medical or non-medical reasons) an individual may appeal the decision. An appeal application is available online and a written appeal is acceptable within 60 days from the date of denial of benefits.

To apply for SSI, contact the Santa Clara County Social Security Office, for benefits screening: (877) 962-3633. For more information, visit:

Lung Cancer Screening

Medicare Part B covers lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) if the individual meets all the following criteria:

  • Aged 55 to 77
  • No signs or symptoms of lung cancer
  • Current smoker or quit smoking within the past 15 years
  • Tobacco smoking history averaging one pack per day for 20 years (“20 pack-years”)
  • An order from a doctor or healthcare provider

Take advantage of these preventative services offered by Medicare by asking for them for yourself or your loved one. In this way, older adults can reduce their risk of developing substance abuse disorders or mitigate its effects to maintain healthier lifestyles.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, July). Substance use in older adults drugfacts. Substance Use in Older Adults DrugFacts | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (
  2. gov. (n.d.). Preventive & screening services. preventive services (


This project was supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $94,686 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.