SI SF01210.510 California State Plan Blind Income Disregards-Introduction
The following POMS sections SI SF01210.520 through SI SF01210.527 provide instructions for computing blind countable income (BCI) in accordance with the provisions of the California State plan that was in effect in October 1972 for administration of the Aid to the Blind (AB) program.
The instructions implement a district court decision (upheld by the Appeals Court) in the class action suit Livermore v. Secretary. The suit contested SSA’s method of computing countable income for converted blind persons in California, stating that not all provisions of the California State plan were being used and that some blind recipients were, therefore, being disadvantaged. The effect of the court’s ruling is that SSA must use the total income provisions of the State AB plan to determine countable income for all blind individuals and couples who were converted from the California AB program. This includes use of State definitions of income and exclusions on deeming income from ineligible spouses.
The original state plan contained different computations for ineligible husbands and wives. In accordance with the Basic Principles in SI SF01210.515 governing the allocation of income between spouses, we have affirmed that you should use the most advantageous computation (subject to administrative finality) regardless of the sex of the spouse.
The decision is applicable to all persons who:
received benefits under the California AB program for December 1973,
received SSI at any time since then for which they maintain their grandfathering rights in California, and
are not ineligible for reasons other than income. See SI SF01210.523 for loss of eligibility for BCI protection.
These individuals are entitled to receive benefits computed using either BCI, as discussed in this supplement, or countable income under Federal rules (CI/FR) (see SI 01210.200B and SI SF01210.520). The two computational methods (BCI and CI/FR) cannot be mixed in determining a blind converted recipient’s countable income for a computational period (e.g., the Federal exclusions cannot be applied to the BI’s unearned income and the State exclusions to the ineligible spouse’s unearned income).
A one-time clean-up was done in 1985 to recompute cases identified as eligible for a computation under this decision retroactively to January 1974. Countable income for these individuals must continue to be computed using both BCI and CI/FR (applying the rules of administrative finality), and using whichever method results in the lower countable income for a given period.