State Assistance Programs for SSI Recipients, January 2007

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 Kansas, Missouri, 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.

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, 2006, must pay $9.69 in administrative costs for each benefit paid. As of October 1, 2006, the rate was adjusted for inflation as calculated by the change in the consumer price index (CPI) between June 2005 and June 2006, 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 its adjusted March 1983 payment 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 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. 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 calculation method. The state determines the method by which it calculates payments and what, if anything, will affect the payment.

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 2007 (unless otherwise stated) and are given in the table below.

Federal benefit rates, January 2007 (in dollars)
Living arrangements Individual Couple Essential person a
Living independently 623.00 934.00 312.00
Living in the household of another b 415.34 622.67 207.67
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 state-administered states who participate in the Optional Supplementation Program. The expenditures reflect previous year counts and were not reported by all state-administered states.

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

Under Medicaid statute, a state must pay unpaid medical expenses incurred for services 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 2007
State Total Aged Blind Disabled
Adults Children
Alabama a 319 116 5 198 b
Alaska a 15,768 4,982 84 10,702 c
Arizona d, e 370 -- -- -- c
Arkansas f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
California 1,208,770 g 355,366 18,354 692,937 142,106
Colorado 15,495 12,980 0 2,515 0
Connecticut 15,469 4,683 94 10,692 h
Delaware i 684 g 44 11 566 57
District of Columbia i 1,471 g 132 9 1,243 86
Florida a 13,769 5,793 5 7,971 b
Georgia f 2,392 . . . . . . . . . . . .
Hawaii 2,374 677 26 1,605 66
Idaho 13,028 2,286 36 9,562 1,144
Illinois 27,979 6,072 90 21,817 b
Indiana 3,427 932 18 2,477 c
Iowa 15,338 -- -- -- --
Kansas -- -- -- -- --
Kentucky 4,330 1,513 18 2,799 b
Louisiana 4,265 1,206 43 3,016 b
Maine d 36,557 -- -- -- --
Maryland d 3,038 -- -- -- c
Massachusetts 171,368 44,487 2,958 97,463 26,460
Michigan 224,800 g -- -- -- --
Minnesota 39,972 11,778 262 27,932 b
Mississippi f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Missouri e 7,662 4,337 1 3,324 c
Montana 959 g 21 10 633 291
Nebraska 5,905 1,221 44 4,640 b
Nevada 9,283 g 8,541 492 j 135
New Hampshire 7,543 1,317 241 5,985 b
New Jersey 151,725 33,115 830 87,387 30,393
New Mexico 112 6 1 105 c
New York 615,569 131,355 2,518 383,160 98,536
North Carolina 24,959 12,476 88 12,395 c
North Dakota f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ohio d 1,863 553 -- -- c
Oklahoma 77,771 18,367 450 47,478 11,476
Oregon 27,122 4,375 506 22,241 h
Pennsylvania 301,141 g 45,554 645 180,080 74,834
Rhode Island 30,222 3,861 172 20,394 5,795
South Carolina 2,542 1,063 8 1,471 b
South Dakota d 3,748 -- -- -- b
Tennessee f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Texas 9,580 2,520 120 6,940 b
Utah 1,868 429 15 1,182 242
Vermont 13,185 1,100 75 9,526 2,484
Virginia d 5,961 -- -- -- c
Washington 30,705 k 25,799 751 4,100 b
West Virginia f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Wisconsin 98,637 9,040 960 64,251 24,386
Wyoming d 2,750 -- -- -- b
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. Data not available by eligibility category.
e. Data for fiscal year 2006.
f. The state does not have an optional supplementation program.
g. Includes recipients whose type of living arrangement was not coded properly. See state Table 2 for more information.
h. Only blind children are eligible; a separate count is not available.
i. Benefits received under a child welfare program.
j. The state does not offer supplement to disabled recipients.
k. Includes 55 persons converted from the former state program.
Summary Table 2. Selected features of state supplementation, by state, January 2007
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 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 No program No program No
Ohio Federal State Payment levels Yes
Oklahoma State State Total expenditures No
Oregon State State Total expenditures No
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 2007
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 2007
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 15,972 6,756 22,728 50
Alaska 8,688 24,660 26,025 50,685 2
Arizona 0 15,972 11,429 27,401 34
Arkansas 0 15,972 9,399 25,371 43
California 5,016 20,988 11,932 32,920 14
Colorado 600 16,572 14,626 31,198 21
Connecticut 4,032 20,004 32,403 52,407 1
Delaware 0 15,972 16,310 32,282 15
District of Columbia 0 15,972 21,354 37,326 7
Florida 0 15,972 11,092 27,064 35
Georgia 0 15,972 9,077 25,049 46
Hawaii 0 15,972 12,291 28,263 27
Idaho 768 16,740 17,797 34,537 8
Illinois 0 15,972 15,039 31,011 22
Indiana 0 15,972 16,049 32,021 17
Iowa 0 15,972 11,833 27,805 31
Kansas 0 15,972 13,894 29,866 24
Kentucky 0 15,972 8,799 24,771 47
Louisiana 0 15,972 10,313 26,285 41
Maine 240 16,212 23,849 40,061 5
Maryland 0 15,972 17,942 33,914 10
Massachusetts 2,745 18,717 14,816 33,533 11
Michigan 336 16,308 9,018 25,326 44
Minnesota 1,944 17,916 26,093 44,009 3
Mississippi 0 15,972 7,512 23,484 48
Missouri 0 15,972 12,977 28,949 26
Montana 0 15,972 10,972 26,944 36
Nebraska 0 15,972 11,982 27,954 29
Nevada 216 15,972 10,914 26,886 37
New Hampshire 648 16,620 22,426 39,046 6
New Jersey 750 16,722 14,869 31,591 19
New Mexico 0 15,972 16,044 32,016 18
New York 2,088 18,060 23,711 41,771 4
North Carolina 0 15,972 13,438 29,410 25
North Dakota 0 15,972 17,001 32,973 13
Ohio 0 15,972 16,125 32,097 16
Oklahoma 1,152 17,124 6,308 23,432 49
Oregon 48 16,020 11,983 28,003 28
Pennsylvania 658 16,630 11,205 27,835 30
Rhode Island 1,376 17,348 16,964 34,312 9
South Carolina 0 15,972 10,354 26,326 40
South Dakota 360 16,332 14,155 30,487 23
Tennessee 0 15,972 6,202 22,174 51
Texas 0 15,972 11,803 27,775 32
Utah 0 15,972 10,552 26,524 39
Vermont 1,249 17,221 16,277 33,498 12
Virginia 0 15,972 11,605 27,577 33
Washington 1,104 17,076 9,454 26,520 38
West Virginia 0 15,972 9,465 25,437 42
Wisconsin 2,011 17,983 13,340 31,323 20
Wyoming 251 16,223 9,069 25,292 45
Blind individuals
California 6,576 22,548 11,932 34,480 1
Iowa 528 16,500 11,833 28,333 5
Massachusetts 3,594 19,566 14,816 34,382 2
Nevada 2,623 18,595 10,914 29,509 3
Oregon 641 16,613 11,983 28,596 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 $15,972; $15,972 is the amount of earned income it takes in calendar year 2007 to reduce the annual federal benefit to zero, based on the monthly calculation ($85 plus twice the monthly federal benefit rate of $623) multiplied by 12.
c. The threshold is the sum of the base amount and the state per capita Medicaid expenditure.