Section 131. The commission shall administer a program of financial assistance for blind persons who reside within the commonwealth. Such assistance, which shall be called state supplementary payments, shall be based on need and granted in supplementation of benefits granted by the federal government to blind individuals, under the provisions of title XVI of the federal Social Security Act and amendments thereto. Such assistance shall be granted to persons who, on account of blindness, qualify for supplemental security income granted pursuant to said title XVI and may, based on need, be granted to individuals who would, but for their income, be eligible for such supplemental security income.
No assistance under this section shall be granted to an applicant who, at any time within two years immediately prior to the filing of an application for such assistance, has made an assignment or transfer or who has mortgaged or otherwise encumbered property so as to render himself eligible for such assistance.
The commissioner shall establish, subject to the approval of the secretary of the executive office of human services, standard levels for state supplementary payments for the blind. Such payments may vary by marital status and by living arrangements to the extent allowed by said title XVI and the regulations promulgated thereunder.
No person receiving assistance under this section shall be prohibited from receiving benefits under the federal Food Stamp Act solely because of his status as a recipient of such assistance.