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Supplemental Security Income- How is it affected by moving?

On our disability forum we consistently get questions regarding Supplemental Security Income benefits. Claimants want to know how the Supplemental Security Income benefits are calculated and how their Supplemental Security Income payments may be affected if they move from one state to the next. First, let’s discuss what Supplemental Security Income benefits are and how they are calculated.

What are Supplemental Security Income benefits?

Supplemental Security Income benefits are given to the aged (65 years or older), blind or disabled who are not considered “insured” by the Federal Government but who are not able to work and perform what the Social Security Administration considers substantial gainful activity for at least 12 continuous months.

Unlike the Social Security Disability Insurance program, Supplemental Security Income recipients do not have to work and accumulate work credits nor do they have to be consider insured by the Social Security Administration. Supplemental Security Income claimants do, however, have to have very limited resources and income.

How does moving affect my Supplemental Security Income payment?

Supplemental Security Income  payments are not based on the claimant’s contributions through taxes but are based instead on the annual Federal Benefit Rate.  For 2012, the Federal Benefit Rate is $698 per month for an individual and $1,048 per month for a couple.  That means the most you can receive individually from the Federal Government on SSI is $698 per month.

So if Supplemental Security Income is administered at the federal level, why do some claimants in different states get different amounts? Some states add what they call a “state supplemental payment” which may make a claimant’s payment higher in certain states.

Claimants who live in a state that adds a state supplemental payment onto their federal SSI payment may be surprised to find that their SSI payment decreases if they move to certain states which do not add a state supplement.

What states do not add a state supplemental payment?

The following states do not add a state supplement onto the federal Supplemental Security Income payment:

Other issues concerning State Supplemental Payments

All of the remaining states do add some type of supplemental payment to the federal Supplemental Security Income payment. It is also worth noting that the Social Security Administration administers these payments for some states while the other states administer their own payments. To further complicate matters, there are some states where both the Social Security Administration and the state administer the state supplemental payment together.

Does moving affect a Social Security Disability Insurance payment?

For claimants who are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and not Supplemental Security Income benefits they will not have to worry about moving and whether or not their payment amounts will change. Social Security Disability Insurance payments are not affected by moving from one state to another.

If you do move, however, regardless of whether you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, contact the Social Security Administration and make sure they have your most recent contact information. They can be reached at 1-800-772-1213.
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