Social Security: What happens if I move to a different state?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

With the world rapidly becoming a global village, more people now move to different states or change countries in hopes of starting new adventures, interesting careers or find a new love. With these new horizons, your life changes in new ways that you never imagined.

Thankfully, with ‘totalization agreements’ all over major countries including the US, UK, Canada and Europe, you can now move freely to explore new horizons without having to compromise important aspects of your life, like social security or your child’s education.

Many people ask our disability attorneys if moving to a different state would affect their social security benefits.

Will Moving Affect Your Social Security Benefits

No, moving to a different state within the U.S. won’t affect your benefits as long as you have a valid social security card. You would only need to inform the Social Security Administration’s local office about the change in your address, with details about your new address.

This is important so that you don’t miss out on important official correspondence from the office and your disability benefits checks. If you have set your benefits payments to direct deposits, you are good to go as long as the authorities are informed about your change of address. You can make the official change in address and telephone number through your social security login online here.

Would you need to re-apply if you change states?

As long as you move within the U.S. you will not have to re-apply for social security benefits. The SSDI is an insurance program run by the federal government, therefore your approval for SSDI benefits will stay the same no matter where you move in the U.S.

How would my benefits change if I move to a different country?

Although your benefits would not be affected by any move within the U.S. your benefits amount may vary if you move to a different country. Countries that have signed a ‘totalization agreement’ with the U.S. government may have their own rules and requirements for the social security. The income limit thresholds may vary and similarly the amount of benefits for disabled, veterans, survivor benefits and dependent benefits may vary for each country.

Fortunately, you won’t have to earn work credits from scratch if you move to a country with ‘totalization agreements’. This means that any work credits you earned while working anywhere in the world (in countries with totalization agreements) would be utilized for your social security.

Remember you could only avail benefits from one country at a time. For instance, if you are a U.S. citizen with dual citizenship status, working in the Europe, then you will be granted social security benefits on European laws as long as you live in the Europe. You will be able to transfer your benefits to the U.S if you decide to move in there.

If you are thinking of moving or are concerned about benefits changes due to moving states (or country), you may contact a social security attorney for more guidance.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.