When Can a Noncitizen Receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income)?

Generally, if you are a noncitizen in one of certain immigration categories granted by the Department of Homeland Security, you may be eligible for SSI if:

• You were lawfully living in the United
• States on August 22, 1996, and you are blind or disabled;
• You were receiving SSI on August 22, 1996, and you are lawfully living in the United States; or
• You were lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and have a total of 40 credits of work in the United States. (Your spouse’s or parent’s work also may count.)

Important:

If you entered the United States on or after August 22, 1996, then you may not be eligible for SSI for the first five years as a lawfully admitted permanent resident even if you have 40 qualifying credits of earnings.

Some other noncitizens who may be eligible for SSI payments are:
• Active duty members of the U.S. armed forces;
• Noncitizen members of federally recognized Indian tribes;
• Certain noncitizens admitted as Amerasian immigrants; and
• Cuban/Haitian entrants under the Refugee Education Assistance Act.

There are other noncitizens who may be eligible for payments, so I suggest that you contact Social Security.

Posted by Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law, www.sheriabrams.com