Virginia Disability Benefits: Social Security Filing and Insurance Options

Find out about Virginia's state supplemental payments, plus how to appeal a denial of Social Security disability or SSI and whether you qualify for Medicaid.

By , J.D., University of Virginia School of Law

If you are a resident of Virginia who is unable to work due to a medical or mental disability, you may be eligible for disability benefits. If you are seeking to apply for SSI or SSDI, you can contact the Social Security office nearest you, or you can call Social Security at 800-772-1213. You can also start an application for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits online. You must call or visit the office to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Disability Evaluation in Virginia

Once Social Security screens your disability application for basic eligibility criteria, the agency forwards the application to Virginia's Disability Determination Services (DDS), a state agency. Claims examiners at DDS review medical evidence in your file to determine whether you meet Social Security's disability criteria. DDS is part of the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services and has offices in Fairfax, Richmond, Roanoke, and Norfolk. The Richmond office is located at 9960 Mayland Dr., Suite 200, Richmond, VA 23233; its telephone number is 800-523-5007.

Supplemental Payments in Virginia

Some adults who receive SSI in Virginia can qualify for a supplemental payment that the state calls an "auxiliary grant." Auxiliary grants are meant to help pay for the cost of long-term care.

Virginia's Department of Social Services (DSS) administers the auxiliary grant program. Virginia supplements SSI payments to adults who receive SSI (or would receive SSI but for excess income) and who live in assisted living facilities or adult foster homes. Assisted living facilities must be state-licensed, and adult foster homes must be approved by the local DSS office. Adults living independently and children are not eligible for auxiliary grants.

The amount of the auxiliary grant varies depending on how much SSI and countable income an individual receives. DSS sets a payment standard, subtracts the amount of the SSI and any countable income, and pays the balance to the individual as an auxiliary grant. In 2018, the payment standard is $1,223 per month for an individual. Recipients are also eligible to receive a personal needs allowance of $82 per month.

Those who live in the Northern Virginia counties of Arlington, Loudon, Prince William, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park, and the city of Alexandria (collectively called "Planning District 8") are eligible to receive an auxiliary grant that is 15% higher than in the rest of the state. For example, the payment standard in 2018 for that region is $1,406 per month. The auxiliary grant is higher in Northern Virginia to account for the higher cost of living in that region.

To apply for the auxiliary grant and personal needs allowance, contact department of social services office in the city or county you last lived in before moving into assisted living or adult foster care.

Medicaid Eligibility in Virginia

If you are approved for SSI, you are not automatically eligible for Medicaid in Virginia (unlike most other states). While Virginia's assets limits for Medicaid are the same as for SSI ($2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple), Virginia's income limits for Medicaid are a bit higher then the federal SSI income limits.

Virginia's income limits are based on 80% of the Federal Poverty Level ($833 for an individual and $1,127 for a couple), and Virginia allows you to deduct your medical expenses from your income when presenting your countable income to Medicaid for the income test. To apply for Medicaid, contact your local Department of Social Services.

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