State Assistance Programs for SSI Recipients, January 2005

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. Three of the major state assistance programs are:

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

With the exception of Ohio, 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.

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, 2004, must pay $9.06 in administrative costs for each benefit paid. As of October 1, 2004, the rate was adjusted for inflation as calculated by the change in the consumer price index (CPI) between June 2003 and June 2004, 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's supplemental payment for any of the living arrangement categories cannot be below their adjusted March 1983 levels. The adjusted level is the state's March 1983 payment level minus the portion of the July 1983 increase in the FBR that was not attributable to the increase in the cost of living (that portion was $10.30 per individual and $15.40 per couple); the essential person increment may be reduced by $5.50.

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 elect 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. In most states, the supplementary payment is added to the federal amount, and countable income is deducted first from the federal payment, as in states with federal administration. In a few states, however, the supplement takes the form of a state-guaranteed income amount that exceeds the federal benefit.

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 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 2005 (unless otherwise stated) and are given in the table below.

Federal benefit rates, January 2005 (in dollars)
Living arrangements Individual Couple Essential
person a
Living independently 579.00 869.00 290.00
Living in the household of another b 386.00 579.34 193.34
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.

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.


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

Under Medicaid statute, a state must pay unpaid medical expenses incurred for service covered under its Medicaid state plan for up to 3 months before an individual is found eligible for SSI, if the individual would have been eligible had he or she applied then. The 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 2005
State Total Aged Blind Disabled
Adults Children
Alabama a 432 150 6 276 b
Alaska a 14,993 4,983 72 9,938 c
Arizona 514 -- -- -- c
Arkansas d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
California 1,163,380 343,488 18,858 671,455 129,579
Colorado e 34,982 20,420 27 13,782 753
Connecticut f -- -- -- g
Delaware 708 55 12 595 46
District of Columbia 1,587 155 12 1,328 92
Florida a 9,393 3,705 3 5,685 c
Georgia d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Hawaii 2,451 697 24 1,667 63
Idaho 12,241 2,244 25 6,996 2,976
Illinois 29,947 6,674 109 23,164 b
Indiana 3,892 1,229 22 2,641 c
Iowa 5,734 993 642 4,099 b
Kansas d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Kentucky 4,396 1,607 23 2,766 b
Louisiana 4,713 1,410 54 3,249 b
Maine 34,296 -- -- -- --
Maryland f -- -- -- --
Massachusetts 169,908 44,243 3,960 97,968 23,737
Michigan 218,941 -- -- -- --
Minnesota 28,224 6,330 136 21,758 b
Mississippi d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Missouri 8,572 2,745 876 4,951 c
Montana 954 29 16 849 60
Nebraska 6,079 1,256 58 4,765 b
Nevada  h 8,603 7,848 491 . . . g
New Hampshire 7,365 1,353 253 5,759 b
New Jersey  i 146,720 32,732 883 85,540 27,564
New Mexico 478 58 5 415 c
New York 617,219 -- -- -- --
North Carolina 23,456 12,010 102 11,344 c
North Dakota 476 -- -- -- c
Ohio  j 2,303 -- -- -- --
Oklahoma 72,126 22,595 569 39,191 9,771
Oregon 23,071 3,178 487 19,406 g
Pennsylvania 12,714 5,362 22 7,311 19
Rhode Island 29,269 3,933 185 19,965 5,186
South Carolina 2,960 1,317 12 1,631 b
South Dakota 3,426 -- -- -- --
Tennessee d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Texas 10,380 2,685 139 7,556 b
Utah 1,563 358 15 1,020 170
Vermont 12,625 1,192 84 9,232 2,117
Virginia k 6,367 2,774 13 3,580 c
Washington f -- -- -- --
West Virginia d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Wisconsin 98,934 9,931 1,012 66,131 21,860
Wyoming 2,700 -- -- -- --
SOURCES: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record, 100 percent data; information in the state summaries.
NOTE: -- = not available; . . . = not applicable.
a. Includes certain grandfathered non-SSI recipients who meet state eligibility criteria.
b. A separate count for children is not available.
c. Children under 18 years old are not eligible for optional payment.
d. The state does not have an optional supplementation program.
e. Data not available after 2002.
f. Total not available; see Table 2 in state summary for details.
g. Only blind children are eligible; a separate count is not available.
h. Includes 264 persons not distributed by eligibility category. Disabled persons are not eligible.
i. Includes one person not distributed by eligibility category.
j. Represents 2004 data.
k. Represents July 2005 data.
Summary Table 2. Selected features of state supplementation, by state, January 2005
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 State 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 No
District of Columbia Federal Federal/state Total expenditures Yes
Florida No recipients State Payment levels Yes
Georgia Federal No program No program Yes
Hawaii Federal 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 program No program 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 Yes
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 State Payment levels 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 Payment levels 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 2005
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 Yes
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 2005
State Twice state supplementation a (dollars) Base amount b (dollars) State per capita Medicaid expenditure (dollars) Threshold c
Amount (dollars) Rank
Disabled individuals
Alabama 0 14,916 5,637 20,553 50
Alaska 8,688 23,604 20,946 44,550 2
Arizona 0 14,916 9,573 24,489 36
Arkansas 0 14,916 8,159 23,075 43
California 5,424 20,340 10,414 30,754 13
Colorado 0 14,916 14,970 29,886 16
Connecticut 4,392 19,308 25,787 45,095 1
Delaware 0 14,916 16,269 31,185 11
District of Columbia 0 14,916 13,100 28,016 24
Florida 0 14,916 9,075 23,991 39
Georgia 0 14,916 7,996 22,912 45
Hawaii 0 14,916 8,534 23,450 41
Idaho 1,248 16,164 18,363 34,527 6
Illinois 0 14,916 13,770 28,686 20
Indiana 0 14,916 14,278 29,194 18
Iowa 0 14,916 9,298 24,214 38
Kansas 0 14,916 13,893 28,809 19
Kentucky 0 14,916 8,350 23,266 42
Louisiana 0 14,916 8,664 23,580 40
Maine 240 15,156 19,261 34,417 7
Maryland 0 14,916 14,520 29,436 17
Massachusetts 2,745 17,661 14,125 31,786 8
Michigan 336 15,252 6,113 21,365 48
Minnesota 1,464 16,380 23,151 39,531 3
Mississippi 0 14,916 7,517 22,433 47
Missouri 0 14,916 11,752 26,668 27
Montana 0 14,916 9,773 24,689 33
Nebraska 288 15,204 15,597 30,801 12
Nevada 0 14,916 11,822 26,738 26
New Hampshire 648 15,564 23,727 39,291 4
New Jersey 750 15,666 12,375 28,041 23
New Mexico 0 14,916 12,423 27,339 25
New York 2,088 17,004 20,571 37,575 5
North Carolina 0 14,916 11,487 26,403 28
North Dakota 0 14,916 16,437 31,353 10
Ohio 0 14,916 13,660 28,576 21
Oklahoma 1,200 16,116 5,100 21,216 49
Oregon 41 14,957 9,698 24,655 34
Pennsylvania 658 15,574 9,221 24,795 32
Rhode Island 1,376 16,292 15,375 31,667 9
South Carolina 0 14,916 9,677 24,593 35
South Dakota 360 15,276 12,910 28,186 22
Tennessee 0 14,916 4,175 19,091 51
Texas 0 14,916 11,098 26,014 30
Utah 0 14,916 11,410 26,326 29
Vermont 1,249 16,165 13,808 29,976 14
Virginia 0 14,916 10,568 25,484 31
Washington 0 14,916 7,714 22,630 46
West Virginia 0 14,916 9,430 24,346 9
Wisconsin 2,011 16,927 12,994 29,921 15
Wyoming 245 15,161 7,827 22,988 44
Blind individuals
California 6,960 21,876 10,414 32,290 1
Iowa 528 15,444 9,298 24,742 5
Massachusetts 3,594 18,510 14,125 32,635 2
Nevada 2,623 17,539 11,822 29,361 3
Oregon 641 15,557 9,698 25,255 4
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 $14,916; $14,916 is the amount of earned income it takes in calendar year 2005 to reduce the annual federal benefit to zero, based on the monthly calculation ($85 plus twice the monthly federal benefit rate of $579) multiplied by 12.
c. The threshold is the sum of the base amount and the state per capita Medicaid expenditure.