Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits do not change if you move to another state. Like Social Security retirement benefits, SSDI payments are based on your average lifetime earnings and are not affected by where you live.
However, if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a benefit program that is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) but not funded by Social Security taxes, an interstate move could change your monthly payments. That's because most states supplement federal SSI payments from their own funds, in varying degrees.
SSI pays benefits to disabled, blind and older people with very low incomes and limited financial assets. The maximum federal SSI benefit changes annually; in 2021, it's $794 for an individual or $1,191 for a couple. Forty-six states — all but Arizona, Mississippi, North Dakota and West Virginia — offer additional funds to residents receiving SSI, as does the District of Columbia.
The federal portion of your SSI payment remains constant, assuming other factors that went into your benefit calculation, such as your income, marital status and living arrangements, stay the same. You won't have to reapply for the federal benefit when you move to a new state, but you may have to do so to get a supplement in your new home state.
State SSI supplements differ
The amount of the supplements, and the conditions for receiving them, vary widely from state to state. The payments can range from around $10 a month on top of the federal SSI benefit to several hundred dollars more. Some states make all SSI recipients eligible for the additional funds, while others set limits based on living situation — for example, paying supplements only to people in nursing homes or other types of residential care facilities.
In 11 states (California, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont) and the District of Columbia, Social Security administers some or all of the state supplement. In these locales, an application for SSI is also an application for the state payment. The remaining 35 states administer their own SSI supplements, and you need to apply to the state separately for the extra payment.
To find out more about states’ programs and benefit amounts, call Social Security at 800-772-1213 or contact the state's department of human services or Medicaid agency.
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Let SSA know
You must notify Social Security of a move, or any other changes in your personal or financial situation that could affect SSI benefits, no later than 10 days after the end of the month in which the change happened. The SSA may levy a penalty of $25 to $100, in the form of a reduced benefit payment, for each failure to report.
If you are receiving SSDI or another Social Security benefit in addition to SSI, you can report a change of address by logging into your My Social Security account online. However, this option is not available if you are getting SSI alone or do not have a U.S. mailing address. (SSI recipients can check the address they have on file with Social Security online but not change it.) You'll need to call the SSA at 800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office to register the new address.
Keep in mind
- While the amount of your SSDI benefit does not change state to state, whether you pay income taxes on it could: Thirteen states tax Social Security payments for at least some recipients. (That doesn't include SSI, which is not taxed anywhere.) Contact your state tax agency for details.
- If you have Medicaid as a result of receiving SSI, moving could affect your health coverage. While most states automatically grant Medicaid eligibility to SSI recipients, not all do, and Medicaid coverage varies state to state.
- Among U.S. territories, SSI is available only in the Northern Mariana Islands. Older, blind and disabled residents of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam may receive benefits under a separate social-welfare program that pays lower benefits than SSI. American Samoa is not covered by such a federal program.
Published June 11, 2021