Will I Lose My Disability Benefits if I Move to a Different State?

Your SSDI benefits won’t change if you move to another state. But moving could affect the amount of your SSI payment.

Updated by , Attorney · UC Law San Francisco

You can collect Social Security disability benefits from almost anywhere in the world, including in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. But what happens to your benefits if you move from one state to another?

The answer depends on whether you're receiving Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments. Here's what you can expect if you move while collecting Social Security disability and how to transfer your disability benefits to another state.

You Don't Have to Reapply for Disability If You Move to Another State

Because the Social Security Administration is a federal agency, the disability payments you receive through Social Security are federal benefits. That's good news if you're getting SSDI or SSI and you plan to move to another state because it means you don't have to reapply for disability just because you're moving.

Your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits generally follows you to your new state. For instance, if the disability determination service (DDS) in your old state found that you medically qualify as disabled, the DDS office in your new state won't need to reevaluate your medical condition.

But the same isn't always true when it comes to your financial eligibility for benefits. In certain circumstances, that can change when you move to another state.

How Moving to Another State Affects SSDI Payments

If you're receiving SSDI payments, moving to a new state won't affect your disability benefits at all. SSDI is federally funded and fully administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Because of this, your SSDI benefits will remain the same even if you move and transfer your disability benefits to another state.

How Moving to Another State Affects SSI Benefits

If you're receiving SSI benefits (or your disabled child is getting SSI), moving to another state can change the monthly benefit amount. And depending on where you move, it could even affect your financial eligibility for SSI benefits.

Transferring to Another State Might Change Your SSI Payments

SSI is a federal benefit, and the amount of that federal benefit won't change if you move. But most states add a small amount of money (called a state supplementary payment) to the federal SSI payment each month.

If your old state paid a supplement, but your new state doesn't (or it pays a smaller supplement), your SSI payment could be reduced if you move. Similarly, if your new state pays a supplement, but your old state doesn't, you can look forward to getting a bigger monthly benefit payment.

Moving to Another State Can Affect the SSI Income Limit

SSI is a need-based program, so there's an income limit to qualify for benefits. Social Security has a complicated formula for determining how much income you can have per month and still be eligible for SSI. And where you live can affect that income limit.

SSI income limit in states without supplements. If your state has no supplementary payment, the SSI income limit is $943 per month (in 2024). But not all income is counted, so you can actually earn more income than that and still receive SSI. (For more information, see our article on countable income for SSI.)

SSI income limit in states that pay supplements. In states that make the extra monthly payment to SSI recipients, the monthly income limit is usually higher than the federal limit of $943 because the state supplement is added on—assuming you're eligible for the supplement.

So if you're moving from a state without a supplement to a state that pays a supplement (or from a state with a small supplement to one that pays a larger supplement), your income limit will likely be higher in your new state. Likewise, if you move from a state that pays a supplement to one with no supplement, your income limit would be less.

(For more information, see our article on SSI income limits and state supplements.)

Changes to Your Living Situation Can Affect Your SSI Benefits

Keep in mind that your SSI benefit amount might go up or down if your living situation changes. For example, if you're moving in with family members who'll be paying for your food or shelter, your SSI benefits will be reduced.

Social Security will consider your family's contributions to your food or shelter expenses as "in-kind income and support." For this reason, you're required to report all changes in your living situation to Social Security. You must report changes in address and living situation within 10 days of the month after which the change occurred.

If you have questions or concerns about how your move will affect your SSI benefits, call your local Social Security office and speak with a claims representative.

How to Transfer Disability Benefits to Another State

When you're moving to another state, exactly how you transfer your disability benefits to your new state will depend on the type of disability benefits you're getting. Whether you're receiving SSDI benefits or SSI benefits, you'll need to give your new address to Social Security. Notifying Social Security right away that you're moving out of state ensures that:

  • you'll keep receiving important notices from Social Security, and
  • your disability payments will find you at your new home.

For SSDI benefits. Since SSDI is funded and administered by the Social Security Administration, if you're getting SSDI benefits, notifying Social Security of your move is relatively simple. You can:

For SSI benefits. Since SSI is administered by the states, to transfer your disability benefits to another state, you can't change your address online. Instead, you'll need to contact your local Security office or call the national toll-free number at 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778) and tell a representative that you're moving to another state.

Update your banking information. If you receive disability payments by direct deposit, you'll need to give Social Security your new banking information. Don't delay this important step since it might take a while for Social Security to verify your new bank account and begin depositing your payments there.

Moving with a pending Social Security claim. If your Social Security disability claim hasn't been decided yet, or you're in the middle of an appeal, moving out of state can delay your case. And you might need to notify more than one Social Security office of your move. Learn more about what to do if you're moving while your Social Security claim is still pending.

Can You Move Out of State While on Long-Term Disability?

The simple answer is yes. Where you live shouldn't affect your long-term disability (LTD) benefits because LTD is insurance that you and/or your employer have purchased. For instance, you might need to move to another state to stay with relatives while you recover from a serious injury or illness.

To keep getting your LTD benefits in your new state of residence, you'll need to do all of the following:

  • notify the insurance company of your move (usually in writing)
  • give your new banking information to the insurance company (for direct deposit), and
  • start seeing a new doctor (or psychologist) in your new state of residence, because most LTD policies require you to continue getting treatment for your disabling condition.

And remember, whenever you're dealing with insurance, including long-term disability, follow the procedures stated in your policy. And if you have questions, ask the insurance company.

Learn more about getting long-term disability benefits—including when your LTD payments can be stopped—on our long-term disability insurance page.

Updated December 12, 2023

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