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SSI and the States

When it comes to SSI benefits, each state is different, even though payments are federal benefits provided by the Social Security Administration, a federal agency. Forty five states (including the District of Columbia) provide cash benefits that supplement the federal SSI payments; on ly Arkansas, Arizona, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia do not supplement SSI.

Even among states that do supplement federal payments, each state system varies. Individuals seeking SSI benefits need to determine exactly what to expect from their own states. Some states are more generous than others. Some - currently 15 plus the District of Columbia -- have programs that the federal government administers for them. Some vary their payments, depending on the circumstances of the recipient. Some have the same eligibility criteria as the federal government's, while others have their own eligibility requirements. Sometimes the payments go to the recipient, and in other cases the payment goes directly to the facility where the beneficiary lives.

The amounts of state assistance vary significantly. For example, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts paid $201.79 monthly to a senior couple living independently in 2009. Oklahoma paid $92.00 to an independent senior couple. Montana provides assistance to individuals living in different types of facilities, such as assisted living and 'group homes for the developmentally disabled. Georgia supplemented federal SSI by $40.oo per month for individuals living in Medicaid facilities.

Determining your options in matters relating to SSI and state-level supplements can be challenging That is why it is helpful to have the assistance of an advocate who can determine what your payment might be and fight both the state and the federal government to be sure you get what you are entitled to. The advocates at Binder & Binder®, are a national firm of disability specialists who help people get the benefits they need and deserve when they are unable to work.

Source: Workworld.org, "SSI State Supplements - Overview," Feb. 1, 2012.

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