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Disability Benefits and Out of State Moves: What you don’t know COULD hurt you

I’m betting we all know someone who has said they are waiting until their kid(s) are out of high school to move. And, if you’re like me, you probably said “that makes sense”. After all, high school marks the end of an era and you want your children to be with their friends. It can be a really tough time to start over.

When you don’t have a child who may qualify for a State Medicaid Waiver this is all good. However, if you’re child is going to need, or has already been approved for, the State’s Medicaid Waiver I encourage you to think twice.

Medicaid services are state-specific. At this time (September 2022) there are no provisions to help families transfer their benefits from one state to another unless you are Active Duty military. According to a Military OneSource article (17 July 2020), the Department of Defense Liaison Office “has 37 states with either no waiting list or with policies that support military members on the waiting list in their state of legal residence while on active duty.”

But what if you’re not military, or you are but you don’t live in one of these 37 states? Then if you were to move you would need to start the process all over again. This would begin with you applying for the Medicaid Waiver in your new state and waiting to see if you would be approved. There is no guarantee your child will qualify because every state is allowed to set its own standards.

For example, some states (like Alabama and Connecticut) may require an Intellectual Disability diagnosis with an IQ lower than 70 to receive support. Connecticut has also set a lower asset maximum for Medicaid of $1,600 (single person). These are just a few examples of things parents need to be thinking about when considering a move to a different state.

Currently, there is no tool I’m aware of that will allow you to compare benefits between states online. If you know where you want to go, or you’ve at least narrowed it down to (3) states, you may opt to work with me using the “Too Many Moving Parts” package. I believe Vitalxchange may also have VitalGuides who can help, but I’m not 100% sure.

I encourage you to not let taxes or cost of living be the sole deciding factor (I acknowledge both are important). I understand sometimes you don’t have much of a choice about moving if you want to keep your family together. I was a geographical bachelor for 5+ years, I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Don’t wait until after you move to figure things out. Do your homework, or hire someone to do it for you. Make sure you understand what is, and isn’t, available where you are going.

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Originally published as Disability Benefits and Out of State Moves: What you don't know COULD hurt you at Special Needs Navigator

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