TN 5 (05-14)

SI 01715.010 Medicaid and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program

A. Policy for States and State choices

1. 209(b) States

The 209(b) States use at least one eligibility criterion more restrictive than the SSI program. States that elected this option may not use more restrictive standards than those in effect in January 1, 1972, and must provide for deducting incurred medical expenses from income through Medicaid spenddown so that individuals may reduce their income to the income eligibility level.

Medicaid spenddown is an important concept not only to the 209(b) States but also to all States with medically needy programs. Spenddown applies to individuals who have too much income to qualify under the State's income limits. When an individual has too much countable income to qualify for Medicaid, the State Medicaid agency looks at the individual's incurred medical expenses during a budget period (1 to 6 months). In some cases, the State can also look at some anticipated expenses, such as the cost of health insurance. The State then takes incurred costs for medical services covered under the State's Medicaid plan during the budget period and deducts them from the individual's countable income until the individual meets the State's income limit. The amount of the excess over the State's income limit is the responsibility of the individual, i.e., to qualify for Medicaid, the individual will have to spend down income to the State's income limit.

At present, there are 9 209(b) States. They are:  


New Hampshire*


North Dakota








*These States do not include nonblind individuals under the age of 18 in their definition of disability. Nonblind children qualify for Medicaid under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program-related eligibility standards or the special standard described in SI 01715.005A.2.


2. SSI criteria States

States that use the SSI eligibility criteria for Medicaid, may make their own Medicaid determinations, or ask SSA to do it. States known as SSI Criteria States make their own determinations for SSI recipients. At present, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) and seven States are SSI Criteria States.

The SSI Criteria States are:  









3. 1634 States

When a State requests SSA to make Medicaid eligibility determinations, it completes a “1634 agreement” with us. (See SI 01730.005 for SSA and state agreements under Section 1634.) Named for the implementing provision in the Act, the 1634 agreement specifies the State and SSA's responsibilities, and requires the State to provide Medicaid coverage to recipients of federally-administered State supplementary payments (SSP’s). Currently, the District of Columbia and the 34 States not mentioned in SI 01715.010A.1. and SI 01715.010A.2. in this section have 1634 agreements, and we make Medicaid eligibility decisions about persons receiving SSI payments and federally-administered SSPs for them. These are 1634 States.

In 1634 States, SSA tells SSI-Medicaid eligibles that they will hear from their State about Medicaid in the SSI award notice shortly. In denials, we refer ineligible SSI claimants to the S