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PFA Tips: Moving To or From Maryland with Benefits and Disability Services

By Michael Dalto, SSI and SSDI Consultant

Download a printable version of “Moving To or From Maryland with Benefits and Disability Services”


If you’re thinking of moving to or from another state, your to-do list is probably already long. But be sure you remember to add an item: Arranging to transfer your child’s government benefits and apply for developmental disability services in your new home state.

Benefits from Social Security
If your child receives cash benefits from Social Security (such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)), it’s not difficult to transfer these benefits to a different state. Social Security’s programs are federal, not state, and can be received anywhere in the country.

1. If your child receives a Social Security benefit, like SSDI, you can transfer their benefit to a new state by using a My Social Security account. This account lets you do many things to manage benefits, including changing your address and direct deposit information. Go to to create a new account or to sign in to an existing account. Using the My Profile tab in your account, you can change your address (and indicate when the change will take effect) and change the account into which the benefit is directly deposited (and indicate when the change will take effect).

2. If your child receives SSI, you can change their address and direct deposit information by calling the local Social Security office or the national number (800-772-1213). You can find your local Social Security office at If the phone number listed for your office is 800-772-1213 (the national number), you may be able to locate an actual phone number for your local office by Googling “Social Security” and the local office address.

SSI Differences in Different States
Maryland does not provide a state-funded supplement to SSI; the maximum SSI benefit for an unmarried person is $914 per month, the amount funded by the federal government. However, some states do offer a state-funded supplement. If your child moves from Maryland to a state with a supplement, they may qualify for a higher benefit. The local Social Security office in the new state can provide more information. However, if your child moves from a state with a supplement to Maryland, their SSI payment may be reduced.

In Maryland, the District of Columbia, and most other states, a person who receives any amount of SSI is automatically eligible for Medicaid, and does not need to apply for it separately. However, 16 states require a separate application for Medicaid. 7 of these states use the same eligibility rules for Medicaid as for SSI. These states are:
• Alaska
• Idaho
• Kansas
• Nebraska
• Nevada
• Oregon
• Utah

The other 9 states have somewhat different rules for Medicaid eligibility than for SSI eligibility, often more restrictive rules. These states are:
• Connecticut
• Hawaii
• Illinois
• Minnesota
• Missouri
• New Hampshire
• North Dakota
• Oklahoma
• Virginia

People who have been entitled to SSDI for two years become eligible for Medicare, a federally-funded medical benefit. You can use a My Social Security account to change the address for your Medicare, the same as for SSDI benefits (see Benefits from Social Security, item 1 above).

If your child receives a Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan, a Medicare supplemental (or Medigap) policy, or a Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) plan, you should contact the plan to see if it is available in the state you are moving to.

Medicaid is a medical benefit jointly funded by state and federal governments. There are dozens of different ways to qualify for Medicaid, many of which are specifically for people with disabilities, such as those who receive SSI benefits. In some states, Medicaid may also be referred to by another name; in Maryland, it’s also called Medical Assistance. Medicaid rules are different in every state.

Unfortunately, you can’t simply transfer Medicaid benefits from one state to another. Because you can only have Medicaid in one state at a time, you must first close out your Medicaid in the state from which you are moving, then apply for Medicaid in your new home state. You can find information about Medicaid eligibility and offices in every state at

Well in advance of your move, it’s best to contact the Medicaid office in the state to which you are moving to verify that your child will likely be eligible for Medicaid in that state and find out how to apply. When you are ready to move, you should contact the Medicaid office in the state you are moving from and ask them to close your Medicaid case. As soon as you move to the new state, you can apply for Medicaid in that state. A Medicaid worker in the new state will need to verify that your Medicaid case in your old state has been closed before they can process your application in the new state. If your child receives SSI benefits, they will most likely be automatically eligible for Medicaid in the state to which you are moving without needing a new application (see SSI Differences in Different States above), but you will still need to open a new Medicaid case in that state.

It’s often best to plan your move near the end of the month, because many states won’t cancel your Medicaid until the last day of the month. This means you may not be able to apply for Medicaid in the new state until the start of the next month. Moving near the end of the month may help minimize any gap in coverage. It also helps minimize coverage gaps if you apply in the new state as soon as possible.

You can usually apply for Medicaid either online or in a local office. It generally takes 15 – 90 days to receive a letter of approval, depending on the state. In most cases, if you are eligible, Medicaid is retroactive to the date you applied, which also helps reduce any gap in coverage. If you receive medical services while waiting for your Medicaid to be approved, keep the receipts. In some cases, it may be possible for your health care providers to bill Medicaid for these services after your Medicaid is approved, and to reimburse you for the expenses if you paid for them yourself.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also called Food Stamps
If your child receives SNAP (Food Stamps), you must first close out the SNAP case in the state you are moving from before you can open a SNAP case in the new state. You can find SNAP offices in all states at You should contact the SNAP office in the state you are moving from about 2 weeks before you move to cancel your SNAP benefit. You can continue to use any remaining SNAP benefits from the old state, which are usually stored on an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card (similar to a debit card) even after you open a case in the new state.

Once you have moved to the new state, you need to apply for SNAP in that state. You can find SNAP eligibility and application information for all states at SNAP rules and application processes are somewhat different in every state. You can also find your new SNAP office at and contact them if you have questions.

Developmental Disability Services
If your child receives developmental disability services in the state you are moving from (such as case management, residential or employment services), unfortunately, you cannot transfer these services to your new home state. You will need to apply for services in the new state after you have moved. The services that are available and the eligibility rules differ greatly from state to state. Also, many states – including Maryland – have very long waiting lists for disability services, and you may need to wait years to receive them. To find the developmental disability service agency in any state, go to and contact them about services they offer, how to apply, and length of the likely wait for services.

If your child receives developmental disability services, then before you move to another state, you will need to carefully consider the possibility of going without services for a long period after moving.


Additional Resources

Maryland Services

PFA Tips: “You Can Go to Work, Keep SSI and Medical Assistance . . . and Live to Tell About It!”

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