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Disability Benefits for Non-Citizens

Disability benefits can be a great help to people who can no longer work due to a severe illness or injury. Since these benefits are provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA), they are tied to money that is paid into the Social Security system and are normally reserved for those who have paid into it. Generally, that refers to citizens of the United States. Keep reading to find out about eligibility for non-citizens.

social security benefits for non citizens

What forms of disability benefits are available to non-citizens?
Non-citizens are entitled to apply for both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. However, they do both have specific parameters in place to which noncitizens must adhere.

Requirements for applying for SSDI
All non-citizens who want to apply for SSDI benefits must have a Social Security Number that was assigned either on or after January 1, 2004 that allows them to work in the United States. If this requirement is not met, then they must meet the following requirements:

1) Must have one of the following non-immigrant visas: B-1, D-1. or D-2
2) Must prove their presence in the United States is lawful for every month they would receive disability benefits
3) Must not be exempt from paying Social Security taxes
4) Must satisfy all other technical and medical eligibility requirements for SSDI benefits

Requirements for applying for SSI
Determining the eligibility for noncitizens for SSI is a bit more complicated. As with any applicant, a noncitizen seeking SSI benefits must meet all of the medical and technical criteria set forth by the program. As well as those criteria, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

1) Must be a “qualified alien”
2) Must meet one of the eight predefined conditions of eligibility
3) Be a Lawfully Admitted Permanent Resident (LAPR) of the U.S.
4) Admitted to the country under the “Conditional Entrants” laws
before April 1, 1980
5) Under some circumstances, have been a parolee in the U.S. for at
least one year
6) Hold refugee status
7) Granted asylum in the U.S. if removal or deportation from the
country is not possible for certain reason
8) Is a Haitian or Cuban non-citizen who was admitted to the country
under the Refugee Education and Assistance Act of 1980
9) Is an alien or family member of an alien who has suffered extreme
cruelty or battery in a home nation

Other circumstances
If none of the above conditions apply to your situation, a non-citizen can possibly be eligible for SSI benefits under the following circumstances:

1) American Indians who are members of a federally recognized tribe
and were born in Canada
2) Certain immigrants from Iraq or Afghanistan who gave assistance to
the U.S. government or military while overseas
3) Some human trafficking victims

If you have questions about non-citizen eligibility for disability benefits, contact Liner Legal today.