Do Disability Benefits Vary by State?

States and Disability Benefits

Disability benefits are paid to those that have become unable to work due to a disabling medical condition. Applied for through the Social Security Administration (SSA), disability benefits can help cover the costs of medical expenses and everyday living.

Although SSA is a federal program and there is not much different between states, if you are planning to move, where you live may have some effect on your disability benefits, depending on which type of benefit you receive.

Disability Benefits: A Federally Run Program

As a federal program, the SSA does not pay much mind to which state you live in, meaning most disability benefits are the same no matter where you are located.


Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is one form of disability benefits that will not be affected by where you live. SSDI is based on your work history and paid into through your payroll taxes. These benefits are designed for workers who have become disabled before they reach retirement age.

SSI Benefits

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are financial need based, and they may vary state-to-state based on a few different factors. For instance, all but eight states offer state supplements that will add to your monthly federal SSI payment.

These benefits range from $10 to $400 a month, depending on which state you move to. The amount of your supplement may be affected by your living situation, marital status, or a variety of other factors. Also, some states may have the SSA control their supplements, while other states control the supplements themselves.

Medicaid Eligibility

In most states, you are automatically enrolled in Medicaid coverage when you are approved for SSI benefits. However, some states choose to make their own decisions on Medicaid coverage. So, if you move from one of the 33 states that automatically grant coverage to another state that makes their own choice, your Medicaid eligibility may change and your coverage may be affected.

Seven states make their own decisions about Medicaid, but the guidelines they use are based on the SSA’s own guidelines. In fact, the guidelines are almost the same. These states are:

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

The other ten states that use their own eligibility guidelines are even stricter than the SSA. Moving to one of these states could result in a denial of Medicaid coverage. These states are:

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

Indiana was included with these states up until 2014. It now automatically approves Medicaid coverage with approval of SSI benefits.

Get Help with Your Benefits

If you are planning to move to another state and are confused about how your benefits may be affected, consider hiring a disability benefits lawyer or advocate to help you go through the process. A lawyer or advocate can go over the new procedures in each state and make sure that you maximize your chances of getting the disability benefits you need and deserve while you settle into your new home.

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