Can non-citizens receive Social Security SSI disability benefits?

In general, beginning August 22, 1996, most non-citizens must meet two requirements to potentially be eligible for SSI:

  1. Be in a qualified alien category, and
  2. Meet a condition that allows qualified aliens to get SSI.

There are eight categories of qualified aliens. The categories are:

  1. Lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States (LAPR), including certain Amerasian immigrants;
  2. Conditional entrants under the law in effect before April 1,1980;
  3. Paroled into the United States for certain reasons for a period of one year or more;
  4. Refugee;
  5. Granted asylum;
  6. Deportation or removal is being withheld for certain reasons; or
  7. Cuban and Haitian entrant as defined in the Refugee Education and Assistance Act of 1980; or
  8. Certain aliens subjected to battery or extreme cruelty or whose child or parent has been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty.

In addition to the categories described above, certain other aliens may be eligible for SSI.

So, yes. Lawful immigrants to the United States are eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits.

Click for more information about Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility for non-citizens.

Your local Social Security office can also tell you whether you are eligible and you can call Social Security’s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, to request the “Supplemental Security Income for Noncitizens,” fact sheet, publication number 05-11051.

  • Geri Kahn

    Tomasz, a great topic! There are all sorts of exceptions and limiations on the categories of “aliens” you mention above. If you think you meet the eligibility requirements based on your immigration status and Social Security disagrees with you, consult with an Immigration attorney before giving up. To their credit, Social Security tries hard, but there are so many different types of status and various ways of proving it such that it is hard for Social Security personnel (who have had no training in Immigration law) to make a proper determination.

    • http://planet10tech.com/ TomaszStasiuk

      Hey Geri. Thanks for the comment!

      Geri practices both Social Security and immigration law in San Francisco and Benicia, California. Find more information here: http://www.gerikahn.com/

  • http://www.socialsecuritydisabilitylawyer.us/ Gordon Gates

    Hi Tomasz,

    It is worth noting that these benefits are subject to a limit of 7 years after the resident alien status. The time limit was part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. Of course, once a resident alien achieves U.S. citizenship, SSI benefits can continue indefinitely. The 7-year time frame was temporarily extended for certain classes of aliens by Public Law 110-328.

    • http://planet10tech.com/ TomaszStasiuk

      Thanks Gordon!

    • Annemarie Gergel

      sorry this test

    • Annemarie Gergel

      I have questions on Disability Could you Please send me your current Contact Information.

      I can be reached at annemarieg43@gmail.com

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