State Assistance Programs for SSI Recipients, January 2010

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, Missouri, Nebraska, 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. Arizona and Oregon have discontinued their optional supplementation programs.

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 in 1974. 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.

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. Some states provide optional supplementary payments to all persons eligible for SSI benefits. Others limit payments to certain SSI recipients such as the blind or residents of domiciliary care facilities, or extend payments to persons who are ineligible for SSI because their income is too high. In most cases a separate count for these individuals is not possible.

Administration. The governmental unit responsible for administering these payments is 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, 2009, must pay $10.45 in administrative costs for each benefit paid. The rate remains the same and was not adjusted for inflation on October 1, 2009, since there was no increase in the consumer price index between June 2008 and June 2009. 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 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):

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 supplemen-tary 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 2010 (unless otherwise stated) and are given in the table below.

Federal benefit rates, January 2010 (in dollars)
Living arrangements Individual Couple Essential person a
Living independently 674.00 1,011.00 338.00
Living in the household of another b 449.34 674.00 225.33
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 also 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. States can choose among 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  2010
State Total Aged Blind Disabled
Adults Children
Alabama a 199 60 4 135 --
Alaska a 16,818 4,997 82 11,739 b
Arizona c . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Arkansas d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
California 1,228,262 352,089 16,842 699,162 160,169
Colorado 27,857 18,800 -- 4,592 --
Connecticut 10,142 2,849 59 7,234 e
Delaware 656 33 12 554 62 f
District of Columbia 1,413 108 6 1,209 90 f
Florida a 13,348 5,296 13 8,039 --
Georgia g 3,570 -- -- -- --
Hawaii 2,163 833 1 1,218 111
Idaho 15,072 2,321 43 11,463 1,245
Illinois 26,860 5,522 91 21,247 --
Indiana 3,703 913 8 2,782 b
Iowa h 5,307 807 477 3,976 47
Kansas g, i 520 -- -- -- b
Kentucky 4,005 1,214 21 2,770 --
Louisiana 4,377 1,099 35 3,243 --
Maine g 42,997 -- -- -- --
Maryland g 3,306 -- -- -- b
Massachusetts 187,359 46,459 3,609 105,148 32,143
Michigan 236,351 16,288 1,547 178,646 39,870
Minnesota 41,233 12,319 278 28,636 --
Mississippi d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Missouri -- -- -- -- b
Montana 1,025 38 14 834 139
Nebraska a, i 5,437 1,031 54 4,352 --
Nevada 10,111 j 9,420 457 . . . 122
New Hampshire a 9,827 1,380 247 8,200 --
New Jersey 159,887 33,439 750 91,972 33,726
New Mexico 69 1 5 63 b
New York 640,716 128,257 2,377 400,448 109,634
North Carolina 23,418 11,575 74 11,769 b
North Dakota d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ohio 1,654 445 -- 1,209 b
Oklahoma 86,044 15,927 381 56,347 13,389
Oregon d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Pennsylvania 455,426 81,843 654 323,620 49,309
Rhode Island 31,086 3,503 150 21,097 6,336
South Carolina 3,928 1,548 10 2,370 --
South Dakota g 4,030 -- -- -- --
Tennessee d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Texas 9,786 2,703 110 6,973 --
Utah 2,169 482 12 1,372 303
Vermont 14,337 1,011 51 10,473 2,802
Virginia 5,193 2,073 13 3,107 b
Washington 35,014 15,621 853 18,540 --
West Virginia d . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Wisconsin 108,412 8,207 887 70,413 28,905
Wyoming g 3,031 -- -- -- --
SOURCES: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record, 100 percent data; information in the state summaries.
NOTES: -- = not available; . . . = not applicable.
a. Includes some grandfathered non-SSI recipients who meet state eligibility criteria, but do not meet federal eligibility guidelines.
b. Children under 18 years old are not eligible for optional payment.
c. Optional program suspended May 1, 2009.
d. The state does not have an optional supplementation program.
e. Only blind children under 18 are eligible; a separate count is not available.
f. Benefits received under a child welfare program.
g. Data not available by eligibility category.
h. Only disabled children living with a dependent relative are eligible for payments.
i. Data reflect 2009 reporting.
j. Includes 112 recipients not distributed by eligibility category.
Summary Table 2. Selected features of state supplementation, by state, January 2010
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 No program No program 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 Payment levels Yes
Florida No recipients State Payment levels Yes
Georgia Federal State Payment levels Yes
Hawaii No recipients Federal Payment levels 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 State Payment levels 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 No recipients No program No program 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/state Payment levels Yes
Vermont No recipients Federal/state 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 2010
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/State Federal/State 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 No 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 2010
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 17,196 6,785 23,981 51
Alaska 8,688 25,884 24,170 50,054 2
Arizona 0 17,196 9,442 26,638 46
Arkansas 0 17,196 11,025 28,221 40
California 4,104 21,300 13,024 34,324 18
Colorado 600 17,796 13,416 31,212 28
Connecticut 4,032 21,228 33,587 54,815 1
Delaware 0 17,196 20,342 37,538 11
District of Columbia 0 17,196 24,875 42,071 6
Florida 0 17,196 11,231 28,427 38
Georgia 0 17,196 10,099 27,295 44
Hawaii 0 17,196 16,860 34,056 20
Idaho 1,272 18,468 19,629 38,097 9
Illinois 0 17,196 9,102 26,298 43
Indiana 0 17,196 15,734 32,930 22
Iowa 0 17,196 13,281 30,477 31
Kansas 0 17,196 16,344 33,540 21
Kentucky 0 17,196 9,332 26,528 47
Louisiana 0 17,196 12,109 29,305 34
Maine 240 17,436 25,671 43,107 5
Maryland 0 17,196 21,132 38,328 8
Massachusetts 2,745 19,941 16,192 36,133 12
Michigan 336 17,532 10,326 27,858 41
Minnesota 1,944 19,140 30,105 49,245 3
Mississippi 0 17,196 8,711 25,907 49
Missouri 0 17,196 13,375 30,571 30
Montana 0 17,196 11,623 28,819 35
Nebraska 120 17,316 18,668 35,984 14
Nevada 0 17,196 14,675 31,871 27
New Hampshire 984 18,180 22,203 40,383 7
New Jersey 750 17,946 16,346 34,292 19
New Mexico 0 17,196 17,205 34,401 17
New York 2,088 19,284 24,672 43,956 4
North Carolina 0 17,196 17,261 34,457 16
North Dakota 0 17,196 18,886 36,082 13
Ohio 0 17,196 14,808 32,004 25
Oklahoma 1,008 18,204 8,218 26,422 48
Oregon 0 17,196 13,171 30,367 32
Pennsylvania 658 17,854 11,495 29,349 33
Rhode Island 958 18,154 19,674 37,828 10
South Carolina 0 17,196 10,608 27,804 42
South Dakota 360 17,556 14,368 31,924 26
Tennessee 0 17,196 8,288 25,484 50
Texas 0 17,196 11,534 28,730 36
Utah 0 17,196 11,185 28,381 39
Vermont 1,249 18,445 16,996 35,441 15
Virginia 0 17,196 13,404 30,600 29
Washington 1,104 18,300 10,170 28,470 37
West Virginia 0 17,196 10,010 27,206 45
Wisconsin 2,011 19,207 13,077 32,284 24
Wyoming 600 17,796 14,789 32,585 23
Blind individuals
California 5,616 22,812 14,440 37,252 1
Iowa 528 17,724 13,281 31,005 4
Massachusetts 3,594 20,790 16,192 36,982 2
Nevada 2,623 19,819 13,801 33,620 3
Oregon 0 17,196 13,771 30,967 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 $17,196; $17,196 is the amount of earned income it takes in calendar year 2010 to reduce the annual federal benefit to zero, based on the monthly calculation ($85 plus twice the monthly federal benefit rate of $674) multiplied by 12.
c. Based on data from 2009.
d. The threshold is the sum of the base amount and the state per capita Medicaid expenditure.