Do disability benefits vary state-to-state?

States and Disability Benefits

Disability benefits are a federally run program through the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide financial assistance to people who are disabled and unable to work. The SSA’s utilizes a Blue Book listing to determine what records and medical documentation are necessary in your application for SSD benefits.

These disability benefits can help cover the costs of any medical expenses and every cost of living. Some types of benefits are the same across all states, while others may slightly, or largely differ state to state.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are based on the years you have worked and the average income you have earned over those years. You pay into these benefits through your own payroll taxes. Where you live does not matter for SSDI benefits, and you will receive the same monthly payment for this type of benefit regardless of what state you live in or move to.


Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

Supplementary Security Income (SSI) benefits are based on financial need. If you move states, these benefits may change based on if your living situation or assets have changed. These types of situations could result from selling your house before moving and moving in with a spouse or someone else who receives SSI benefits after changing states.

Each state also has certain state supplements that they offer to those who receive SSI benefits. You could lose the state supplements of your previous state, or gain new state supplements in your new state, which could increase or decrease your SSI benefits as such.

Medicaid Coverage

Most states automatically enroll you in Medicaid coverage with the approval of your SSI benefits, but some states opt to control this decision on their own. This means that your Medicaid coverage may be affected if you move from one of the 33 states that automatically grant coverage to a new state that does not.

Of the states that make their own decisions regarding Medicaid coverage, seven of them use their own criteria for approval, but it is based more or less on the SSA’s own criteria. These states include:

  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Utah

Then, there are ten states that use a set of eligibility criteria that is even more restrictive than the SSA’s guidelines. In these states, it may be more likely that your Medicaid coverage is affected by your move, or even cut. These ten states include:

  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Virginia

Note that up until 2014, Indiana was included with these states, but it now automatically approves Medicaid coverage based on SSI benefits like the majority of U.S. states.

Get Help with Your Disability Benefits

If you are planning on moving across state lines and are worried about how your disability benefits may be affected by the change, you can hire a disability benefits lawyer or advocate for help. A lawyer or advocate can help to explain the statutes of your new state in more detail and ensure that you transfer all of your forms correctly for an overall smooth and successful process.

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