State Assistance Programs for SSI Recipients, January 2008


Guide to Reading the State Summaries

This guide explains the program features detailed in the summaries for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Although each state does not feature all of the assistive programs listed below, the three major state assistance programs are:

To facilitate comparisons across states, a separate section includes four tables that summarize:

With the exception of Kansas, Nevada, and Rhode Island, all states and the District of Columbia have provided current data for this publication. The state summaries contain information on the program features discussed below.

State Supplementation

Mandatory Minimum Supplementation

The states provide mandatory minimum supplementation only to recipients who were converted to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program from the former state assistance programs when the SSI program began. Mandatory minimum state supplementary payments are required by Public Law 93‑66 to maintain the December 1973 payment levels that these recipients received under the former state assistance programs. States are required to provide this supplementation to maintain their eligibility for Title XIX (Medicaid) federal matching funds. The governmental unit responsible for administering these payments may be either a state or local agency or the Social Security Administration.

Optional State Supplementation

Some states provide optional monthly supplements to help persons meet needs not fully covered by federal SSI payments. The state determines whether it will make a payment, to whom, and in what amount. These supplements, paid on a regular monthly basis, are intended to cover such items as food, shelter, clothing, utilities, and other daily and special necessities determined by the individual states. Some states provide optional supplementary payments to all persons eligible for SSI benefits. Others may limit payments to certain SSI recipients such as the blind or residents of domiciliary care facilities, or they may extend payments to persons who are ineligible for SSI because their income is too high. In some cases a separate count for these individuals is not possible.

Administration. The governmental unit responsible for administering these payments may be a state or local agency or the Social Security Administration (SSA). Under state administration, the state must absorb both program benefits and administrative costs. Under federal administration, the state must reimburse SSA for the cost of the program benefits and, as of October 1, 2007, must pay $9.95 in administrative costs for each benefit paid. As of October 1, 2007, the rate was adjusted for inflation as calculated by the change in the consumer price index (CPI) between June 2006 and June 2007, rounded to the nearest whole cent. The Commissioner may select a different rate for a state, taking into account the complexity of administering the state's supplementary payment program.

Effective date. The date when the state instituted or revised its optional supplementation program.

Statutory basis for payment. The state law(s) authorizing the supplementary payments.

Funding. The source of funds for supplementary payments and administrative costs. In states requiring financial participation from local governments, the portions contributed by the state and the locality are indicated.

Passalong method. To maintain eligibility for Medicaid reimbursement, any state making supplementary payments after June 30, 1977, must continue making payments and must pass along the cost-of-living increase to the federal benefit rate (FBR). Two methods are available to ensure that cost-of-living increases are passed on to the recipients: the payment levels method and the total expenditure method.

Under the payment levels method, the State must maintain the March 1983 payment level for each living arrangement category. However, in July 1983, the expected cost-of-living adjustment was delayed until January 1984, so instead there was a general increase in the FBR. Thus, to determine the required supplementary payment levels, the March 1983 payment levels are reduced by the amounts the FBR general increase exceeded the expected July 1983 cost-of-living increase, which are $10.30 for an individual, $15.40 for an eligible couple, and $5.50 for an essential person.

Under the total expenditure method, state expenditures for supplementary payments in the current calendar year must at least equal expenditures in the preceding calendar year. If expenditures fall short in the current year, the state must increase expenditures in the next calendar year by an amount at least equal to the shortfall.

Place of application. The office(s) accepting applications for supplementary payments.

Scope of coverage. The categories of persons the state has elected to supplement. States with state-administered programs establish their own eligibility conditions and payment categories. States with federally administered programs must adhere to SSI eligibility criteria in all aspects but are allowed to establish additional income exclusions and payment categories.

Resource limitations. The resource limitations and exclusions for federally administered state supplementation are the same as for federal SSI payments: countable resources must be worth $2,000 or less for an individual, or $3,000 or less for a couple. Countable resources are properties—real or personal—that count toward the resource limits. Recognizing that not everything an individual owns is available for his or her support and maintenance, the law provides for excluding certain resources in determining eligibility for SSI. Excluded resources include (but are not limited to):

States with state-administered supplementation can establish their own resource limitations and exclusions for optional state supplementary payments.

Income exclusions. An exclusion is the amount of a recipient's income that is not counted against the state supplementary payment.

In general, an SSI recipient's income from sources other than SSI is counted against the SSI payment amount. Some income, however, is excluded from being counted. The federal program excludes $20 per month of earned or unearned income; in addition, $65 per month of earned income plus one-half of the remaining earnings is excluded. Some types of income are entirely excluded, such as certain home energy and support and maintenance assistance, food stamps, most federally funded housing assistance, state assistance based on need, one-third of child support payments, and income received infrequently or irregularly.

States that choose federal administration must exclude at least the amounts excluded by the federal program and may exclude more. Countable income is deducted first from the federal payment. Any income that remains to be counted after the federal payment is reduced to zero is deducted from the state supplementary payment.

States with state-administered programs can establish their own income exclusions of any amount and type.

Recoveries, liens, and assignments. Provisions of state supplementation plans governing recovery of assistance payments and assumption of a recipient's property by the agency. As a condition of providing assistance, a state may require that a lien be placed on a recipient's property. Such a requirement does not affect a person's eligibility or payment status for federal SSI benefits or federally administered state supplementary payments.

Financial responsibility of relatives. State supplementation provisions that govern the responsibility of relatives (other than parent for child and spouse for spouse) for providing economic support and returning overpayments.

Interim assistance reimbursement (IAR). The Social Security Administration may reimburse a state that has provided basic needs assistance to an individual during the period in which either the person's application for SSI was pending or his or her SSI benefits were suspended or terminated. The individual's retroactive SSI payment is sent to the state as reimbursement if:

Payment calculation method. States with state administration determine the method by which payments are calculated and what, if anything, will affect the payment. States with federal administration follow federal guidelines.

Payment levels. The maximum state supplementary payments and the combined maximum federal and state payments that can be awarded to recipients without countable income are presented, by state-designated living arrangements, in Table 1 in each state summary. Unless otherwise stated, payment levels apply equally to aged, blind, and disabled recipients. The federal benefit rates that are included in the combined payment levels became effective January 2008 (unless otherwise stated) and are given in the table below.

Federal benefit rates, January 2008 (in dollars)
Living arrangements Individual Couple Essential person a
Living independently 637.00 956.00 319.00
Living in the household of another b 424.67 637.34 212.67
Living in a Medicaid facility c 30.00 60.00 . . .
NOTE: … = not applicable.
a. This represents the additional amount included in a recipient's check to cover the needs of a household member who provides essential care and services to the recipient and whose needs were previously taken into account in determining the recipient's assistance payment under a state plan approved under titles I, X, XIV, or XVI of the Social Security Act.
b. If the recipient lives in another person's household for a full calendar month and receives both food and shelter from that person, the federal benefit rate (amounts for living independently) is reduced by one-third.
c. Includes eligible persons who live in a public or private medical institution throughout a month and Medicaid is paying more than 50 percent of the cost of their care. It also includes eligible children under age 18 who live in a public or private medical institution throughout a month and Medicaid, or a combination of Medicaid and private insurance, is paying more than 50 percent of the cost of care.

In states where the SSI payments are federally administered, each living arrangement is described according to the following federal living arrangements. The state may also have other living arrangements. States that administer the SSI payment have the option to supplement and determine their own definitions of living arrangements.

Federal Code A. Includes eligible persons who:

It also includes eligible persons for whom Codes B, C, and D do not apply.

Federal Code B. Includes eligible persons who:

The Code A payment standard is reduced by one-third for people in federal Code B living arrangements.

Federal Code C. Includes eligible children under age 18 who live in the same household as their parents (that is, deeming applies). The payment standard is the same as in Code A.

Federal Code D. Includes eligible persons who live in a public or private medical institution throughout a month and Medicaid is paying more than 50 percent of the cost of their care. It also includes eligible children under age 18 who live in a public or private medical institution throughout a month and Medicaid, or a combination of Medicaid and private insurance, is paying more than 50 percent of the cost of care.

Number of recipients. The number of recipients receiving optional payments from the state is displayed in Table 2 in each state summary. This number may include persons who are ineligible for federal SSI payments but meet state eligibility criteria.

Total expenditures. The total amount of expenditures for SSI recipients reported by states who participate in the Optional Supplementation Program. The expenditures reflect previous year counts.

State Assistance for Special Needs

This assistance is for emergency or special conditions not covered by monthly SSI or optional state supplementary payments. Disaster benefits, burial expenses, additional subsidies for institutional care, and moving expenses are included in this category.

Administration. The governmental unit responsible for administering these payments is indicated.

Special needs circumstances. The special needs circumstances (recurring and nonrecurring) for which assistance can be approved are defined. Where available, eligibility requirements and payment limitations are described.


All states have federally assisted medical assistance (Medicaid) programs.


States may grant Medicaid eligibility to all SSI recipients or apply state guidelines in determining eligibility.

Either the SSI program guidelines or the state guidelines may be used to determine eligibility. State guidelines may not be more restrictive than the state's January 1972 medical assistance standards. The governmental unit responsible for determining eligibility is indicated.

Medically Needy Program

The presence or absence of a medically needy program for SSI-related populations is indicated. Statute permits states to choose either no medically needy program, a restricted program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or a program for the TANF-related and one or more of the SSI-related categories (that is, aged, blind, or disabled). States determine eligibility for this program.

Unpaid Medical Expenses

Medicaid law requires states to pay covered medical expenses for up to 3 months prior to the Medicaid application, if the individual would have been eligible at the time. In many states the SSI application serves as the Medicaid application, and this entry indicates whether SSA has a contractual agreement with the state to inquire about the unpaid medical expenses of SSI claimants.

Summary Tables

Summary Table 1. Number of persons receiving optional state supplementation, by state and eligibility category, January 2008
State Total Aged Blind Disabled
Adults Children
Alabama a 269 90 5 174 b
Alaska a 16,031 4,967 78 10,986 c
Arizona d 310 -- -- -- c
Arkansas e
California 1,228,578 360,374 17,992 702,748 147,464
Colorado 22,519 18,397 -- 4,122 b
Connecticut 15,194 4,550 97 10,547 f
Delaware g 697 39 12 581  g 65
District of Columbia g 1,450 118 10 1,218  g 104
Florida a 13,380 5,668 6 7,706 b
Georgia 2,680 761 24 1,895 b
Hawaii 2,464 716 26 1,647 75
Idaho 13,028 2,286 36 9,562 1,144
Illinois 27,361 5,801 87 21,473 b
Indiana 3,393 901 11 2,481 c
Iowa 5,547 721 481 4,063 282
Kansas e
Kentucky 4,151 1,502 25 2,624 b
Louisiana 4,338 1,207 37 3,094 b
Maine d 40,343 -- -- -- --
Maryland d 3,124 -- -- -- c
Massachusetts 179,322 45,348 3,701 101,119 29,154
Michigan 227,311 -- -- -- --
Minnesota 38,546 11,684 273 26,589 b
Mississippi e
Missouri 8,303 -- -- -- c
Montana 1,030 35 13 874 108
Nebraska 5,558 1,043 44 4,471 b
Nevada 9,553 8,836  h 607
New Hampshire 21,882 8,511 390 12,981 b
New Jersey 155,452 33,686 805 89,372 31,589
New Mexico 103 6 3 94 c
New York 621,394 130,792 2,460 386,798 101,344
North Carolina 23,919 11,881 81 11,957 c
North Dakota e
Ohio d 1,864 544 -- -- c
Oklahoma 80,698 17,187 403 51,618 11,490
Oregon 24,085 3,235 446 20,404 f
Pennsylvania 347,538 43,382 656 151,572 151,928
Rhode Island 30,602 3,781 166 20,766 5,889
South Carolina 2,401 948 7 1,446 b
South Dakota d 3,702 -- -- -- --
Tennessee e
Texas 9,850 2,636 116 7,098 b
Utah 2,042 435 15 1,295 297
Vermont 13,596 1,087 71 9,867 2,571
Virginia d 5,496 2,244 11 3,241 c
Washington d -- -- -- -- --
West Virginia e
Wisconsin 100,217 8,699 933 65,122 25,463
Wyoming d 2,796 -- -- -- --
SOURCES: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record, 100 percent data; information in the state summaries.
NOTE: -- = not available; … = not applicable.
a. Includes some grandfathered non-SSI recipients who meet state eligibility criteria, but do not meet federal eligibility guidelines.
b. A separate count for children is not available.
c. Children under 18 years old are not eligible for optional payment.
d. Data not available by eligibility category.
e. The state does not have an optional supplementation program.
f. Only blind children are eligible; a separate count is not available.
g. Benefits received under a child welfare program.
h. Includes 133 blind children.
Summary Table 2. Selected features of state supplementation, by state, January 2008
State Administration of— Method of passalong Participation in interim assistance reimbursement program
Mandatory minimum supplementation Optional state supplementation
Alabama No recipients State Payment levels No
Alaska No recipients State Total expenditures Yes
Arizona State State Payment levels Yes
Arkansas Federal No program No program No
California Federal Federal Payment levels Yes
Colorado State State Total expenditures Yes
Connecticut No recipients State Payment levels Yes
Delaware Federal Federal/state Payment levels Yes
District of Columbia Federal Federal/state Total expenditures Yes
Florida No recipients State Payment levels Yes
Georgia Federal State Payment levels Yes
Hawaii No recipients Federal Total expenditures Yes
Idaho State State Payment levels No
Illinois State State Payment levels Yes
Indiana No recipients State Payment levels Yes
Iowa Federal Federal/state Payment levels Yes
Kansas Federal No information Unknown Yes
Kentucky No recipients State Payment levels Yes
Louisiana Federal State Payment levels No
Maine State State Payment levels Yes
Maryland Federal State Payment levels Yes
Massachusetts Federal Federal Payment levels Yes
Michigan Federal Federal/state Payment levels Yes
Minnesota No recipients State Payment levels Yes
Mississippi Federal No program No program No
Missouri State State Payment levels No
Montana Federal Federal Payment levels Yes
Nebraska State State Total expenditures Yes
Nevada No recipients Federal Payment levels Yes
New Hampshire State State Payment levels Yes
New Jersey Federal Federal Payment levels Yes
New Mexico State State Payment levels Yes
New York Federal Federal/state Payment levels Yes
North Carolina State State Payment levels Yes
North Dakota No recipients No program No program No
Ohio Federal State Payment levels Yes
Oklahoma State State Total expenditures No
Oregon State State Total expenditures Yes
Pennsylvania Federal Federal/state Payment levels Yes
Rhode Island No recipients Federal Payment levels Yes
South Carolina No recipients State Payment levels No
South Dakota Federal State Payment levels No
Tennessee Federal No program No program Yes
Texas No recipients State Payment levels No
Utah No recipients Federal Payment levels Yes
Vermont No recipients Federal Payment levels Yes
Virginia No recipients State Total expenditures Yes
Washington State State Total expenditures Yes
West Virginia No program No program No program No
Wisconsin No recipients State Total expenditures Yes
Wyoming State State Payment levels No
SOURCE: Based on information in the state summaries.
Summary Table 3. Selected features of medical programs affecting SSI recipients and the needy, by state, January 2008
State Medicaid eligibility Medically needy program SSA obtains information on unpaid medical expenses
Criteria Determined by—
Alabama Federal Federal No No
Alaska Federal State No No
Arizona Federal Federal Yes No
Arkansas Federal Federal Yes Yes
California Federal Federal Yes No
Colorado Federal Federal No Yes
Connecticut State State Yes No
Delaware Federal Federal No Yes
District of Columbia Federal Federal Yes Yes
Florida Federal Federal Yes No
Georgia Federal Federal Yes No
Hawaii State State Yes No
Idaho Federal State No No
Illinois State State Yes No
Indiana State State No No
Iowa Federal Federal Yes Yes
Kansas Federal State Yes No
Kentucky Federal Federal Yes Yes
Louisiana Federal Federal Yes Yes
Maine Federal Federal Yes No
Maryland Federal Federal Yes Yes
Massachusetts Federal Federal Yes Yes
Michigan Federal Federal Yes No
Minnesota State County Yes No
Mississippi Federal Federal No No
Missouri State State No No
Montana Federal Federal Yes No
Nebraska Federal State Yes No
Nevada Federal State No No
New Hampshire State State Yes No
New Jersey Federal Federal Yes Yes
New Mexico Federal Federal No No
New York Federal Federal Yes No
North Carolina Federal Federal Yes No
North Dakota State State Yes No
Ohio State State No No
Oklahoma State State Yes No
Oregon Federal State No No
Pennsylvania Federal Federal Yes Yes
Rhode Island Federal Federal Yes Yes
South Carolina Federal Federal No No
South Dakota Federal Federal No Yes
Tennessee Federal Federal Yes Yes
Texas Federal Federal Yes Yes
Utah Federal State Yes No
Vermont Federal Federal Yes No
Virginia State State Yes No
Washington Federal Federal Yes Yes
West Virginia Federal Federal Yes Yes
Wisconsin Federal Federal Yes No
Wyoming Federal Federal No Yes
SOURCE: Based on information in the state summaries.
Summary Table 4. State threshold amounts for disabled and blind individuals to maintain Medicaid eligibility under section 1619(b) of the Social Security Act, calendar year 2008
State Twice state supplementation a (dollars) Base amount b (dollars) State per capita Medicaid expenditure c (dollars) Threshold d
Amount (dollars) Rank
Disabled individuals
Alabama 0 16,308 7,055 23,363 51
Alaska 8,688 24,996 28,825 53,821 1
Arizona 0 16,308 11,863 28,171 37
Arkansas 0 16,308 10,080 26,388 46
California 5,592 21,900 12,446 34,346 14
Colorado 600 16,908 12,501 29,409 31
Connecticut 4,032 20,340 33,291 53,631 2
Delaware 0 16,308 17,009 33,317 15
District of Columbia 0 16,308 23,003 39,311 6
Florida 0 16,308 11,347 27,655 39
Georgia 0 16,308 11,338 27,646 40
Hawaii 0 16,308 14,232 30,540 27
Idaho 768 17,797 19,486 36,562 9
Illinois 0 16,308 14,892 31,200 25
Indiana 0 16,308 15,840 32,148 21
Iowa 0 16,308 14,380 30,688 26
Kansas 0 16,308 15,562 31,870 22
Kentucky 0 16,308 9,078 25,386 48
Louisiana 0 16,308 10,858 27,166 42
Maine 240 16,548 24,591 41,139 5
Maryland 0 16,308 19,654 35,962 13
Massachusetts 2,745 19,053 17,003 36,056 12
Michigan 336 16,644 9,674 26,318 47
Minnesota 1,944 18,252 26,547 44,799 3
Mississippi 0 16,308 8,655 24,963 49
Missouri 0 16,308 14,146 30,454 28
Montana 0 16,308 11,904 28,212 36
Nebraska 0 16,308 16,491 33,015 17
Nevada 216 16,524 13,542 29,850 29
New Hampshire 648 16,956 21,771 38,727 7
New Jersey 750 17,058 15,964 33,022 16
New Mexico 0 16,308 16,266 32,574 20
New York 2,088 18,396 25,240 43,636 4
North Carolina 0 16,308 15,166 31,474 24
North Dakota 0 16,308 21,609 37,917 8
Ohio 0 16,308 16,675 32,983 19
Oklahoma 1,128 17,436 6,924 24,360 50
Oregon 41 16,349 13,289 29,638 30
Pennsylvania 658 16,966 11,588 28,554 33
Rhode Island 1,376 17,684 18,464 36,148 11
South Carolina 0 16,308 10,800 27,108 45
South Dakota 360 16,668 15,167 31,835 23
Tennessee 0 16,308 11,503 27,811 38
Texas 0 16,308 12,050 28,358 34
Utah 0 16,308 11,927 28,235 35
Vermont 1,249 17,557 18,650 36,207 10
Virginia 0 16,308 13,040 29,348 32
Washington 1,104 17,412 9,731 27,143 44
West Virginia 0 16,308 10,846 27,154 43
Wisconsin 2,011 18,319 14,672 32,991 18
Wyoming 600 16,908 10,325 27,233 4
Blind individuals
California 7,152 23,460 12,446 35,906 2
Iowa 528 16,836 14,380 31,216 4
Massachusetts 3,594 19,902 17,003 36,905 1
Nevada 2,623 18,931 13,542 32,473 3
Oregon 641 16,949 13,289 30,238 5
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Program Operations Manual System (POMS), SI 02302.200, Charted Threshold Amounts.
a. Twice the annual state supplementation rate, if any, for an individual living independently.
b. The base amount is the annual amount of earned income it takes to reduce the annual SSI federal plus state benefit to zero. It is calculated as the sum of twice the state individual supplementation rate plus $16,308; $16,308 is the amount of earned income it takes in calendar year 2008 to reduce the annual federal benefit to zero, based on the monthly calculation ($85 plus twice the monthly federal benefit rate of $637) multiplied by 12.
c. Based on data from 2006.
d. The threshold is the sum of the base amount and the state per capita Medicaid expenditure.