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Receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if You Are a Non-Citizen

April 12, 2020

SSI for Noncitizens is available, if you are eligible as a non-citizen under the following Immigration status provisions:

  1. You are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)

  2. You have been granted a Conditional Entry status

  3. You have been paroled or in lieu, admitted as a refugee in the U.S.

  4. You have been granted Asylum

  5. You are an alien and your Removal (Deportation) has been withheld

  6. You entered with Cuban or Haitian status

  7. You are Amerasian Immigrant status

  8. You are an Iraqi or Afghan Special Immigrant

If you are classified as one of the above, you are then subject to the following Social Security Agency requirements:

  1. You have been residing in the US on 08/22/1996, and you are legally blind or disabled

  2. You were already receiving SSI on 08/22/1996 and legally residing in the US

  3. You are a Lawful Permanent Resident with at least 40 total credits of work in the US, and you may count the work credits of your spouse or parent as well in your total credit calculation

  4. You are a Veteran or Active Duty military, or a dependent or spouse of Active Duty military personnel

  5. You are a Canadian born American Indian

  6. You are a non-citizen member of a federally recognized Indian tribe

  7. You are a victim of human trafficking, under the severe form classification

There are certain Agency rules that apply if you arrived after 08/22/1996. If this applies to you, for the first 5 years SSI benefits are not available for you as an LPR, even if you had the requisite 40 credits of work.

If you are already receiving payments and these stop, you should reapply. Examples of documents Social Security requires as proof of your status include, though not all inclusive or exhaustive are:

  1. I-94 (Must be current) – This is your Arrival and Departure record

  2. I-551 Your Lawful Permanent Resident Card (referred to as your “Green Card” and it's not always green)

  3. An order from the Immigration Judge stating that you have received the status of Asylum or that your Removal (Deportation) has been withheld

  4. Military DD-214

IMPORTANT If your Immigration Status changes, or any other questions you may have, as it pertains to your Immigration status and receiving SSI contact Social Security at (800)-772-1213 or TTY (800)-325-0778. Their staff is there from 7 am to 7 pm, Monday through Friday.

Very important also, if you've been legally admitted the US, with work authorization, you may need a Social Security number if you do not have one already.

This blog is intended for information purposes only and does not establish legal representation or financial guidance.